It was a normal day in the life of Gilbert Espat; he was spear fishing like hundreds of other fishermen all over Belize. But it was not a normal barracuda that Gilbert came in contact with this morning. It was a ferocious one which reacted in self defence and inflicted two large and deep bite marks on his arm.
The victim of the unfortunate incident was kind enough to accept an interview while being treated on the operation table by Dr. Daniel Gonzalez of Ambergris Hopes Clinic. Gilbert Espat, fisherman and resident of the San Pedrito Area related to us what went on this morning.
“It was just another ordinary fishing day for myself and companions,” commented Espat. “We headed out at about 6:00 this morning at the Esmeralda Dive Site just outside the reef. My buddies and I were spear fishing. I saw this huge four-foot barracuda and managed to hit it once with the spear gun. I saw the fish going down and as I was about to hit it again it came swimming straight at my face. I had enough time to cover my face and that was when I felt two big bites to my arm.”
Espat then managed to swim up to his boat where his companions assisted him into the boat. The barracuda had inflicted four large lacerations to his biceps and triceps on his right arm. He was quickly rushed to the clinic.
Dr. Daniel Gonzalez of the Ambergris Hopes Clinic stated that Espat was very fortunate that the barracuda did not tear one of the main arteries in his arm which could have been fatal. “He did receive a nasty bite, but with proper physiotherapy his muscles and ligaments should be back to normal,” commented Dr. Daniel Gonzalez.
Dr. Gonalez could not give us a count of how many stitches Espat received, only stating that it was “A LOT”. The barracuda tore deep into his arm, completely ripping apart his wet suit and lacerating muscle tissue. Dr. Gonzalez had to suture three different layers of tissue to properly close his injuries.
Espat has been fishing for the past 20 years of his life and said that this was the first time he has been attacked by a barracuda. He is very thankful that it happened in an area close to town and was able to receive proper medical attention.
(Graphic Images, Click at own Discression)