Billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson hasn’t had a very good week. While on vacation in the Cayman Islands to meet up with ocean conservationist Guy Harvey and take a swim with dozens of stingrays, one of the rays took a bite out of him.
Richard Branson originally set up the trip so he could discuss ocean conservation “and the need for sustainable marine environments” with Guy Harvey, but before the meeting took place, Richard and Harvey decided to get up close and personal with the rays at Stingray City Sandbar. On his website, Richard Branson describes the encounter, saying they were surrounded by rays, coral reefs, and tropical fish, but while the rays were feeding, one of them got a little too close for comfort, and bit Richard’s arm, reports Metro.
“But the rays were feeding all around, and they mistook yours truly for their food. Suddenly I felt a painful sensation on my wrist – they have one heck of a painful kiss! Rays are actually part of the shark family, so I’ve now been kissed by a shark.”
Branson returned to land to get treatment for his “shark” bite and says he’s still proudly campaign to protect stingrays and their environments, even though one of them tried to take a chunk out of him, as “apparently it gives seven years good luck.”
After getting treatment for his bite and once again meeting with Guy Harvey to discuss conservation efforts, Richard’s bad week just kept on going. According to the Daily Mail, remembering that his wedding anniversary was coming up, Branson headed into a local jewellery store to buy an anniversary gift for his wife Joan, where he was attacked again — this time by a glass door.
“I strolled purposefully into the shop, not noticing there was a glass door in my way. Crash! I hit the glass head first and I got this painful cut above my left eye. It was bullet-proof glass!”
Branson said that a makeshift operating room was set up for him outside the store, where he had to receive three stitches above his eye. Richard reported that left the shop feeling woozy, and understandably embarrassed. Not so woozy, however, that Branson didn’t attend the celebrity tennis tournament he was scheduled for, pairing up with Anna Kournikova to take on Mansour Bahrami and Ashley Harkleroad.
Despite the stingray bite to his arm, and the cut above his eye from walking into a glass door, Richard Branson can still count himself lucky — perhaps there’s something to that seven years good luck — in that the stingray only wanted to take a small bite out of famed billionaire Richard Branson. The world knows all-too-well what kind of damage a fully grown stingray can do. It was a stingray, after all, that famously killed “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin in 2006 in Queensland, Australia, after Irwin approached the large ray from behind in shallow water. Unlike Richard Branson, Irwin wasn’t dealt only a light bite from the angry ray, but was, in fact, reportedly struck several hundred times in the body by the ray’s sharp tail spine, one of which punctured his heart, causing him to bleed out.
Hopefully, Richard Branson will walk away from his encounter with the deadly ray having learned a lesson: some beautiful creatures should be left alone and admired only from a safe distance.
[Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images]