Authorities in Arraial do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil believe the harpooning incident, which happened Monday, was an accident.
According to the Rio de Janeiro State Health Department, a man claimed he inadvertently shot his wife, 28-year-old Elisangela Borborema Rosa, in the face with a harpoon while cleaning the spear gun.
The spear penetrated Rosa’s mouth and neck, hitting her in the cervical spine. She was rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery. Amazingly, Rosa survived from the shooting, as doctors’ state it came within a mere centimeter from killing her, and an inch either way from rendering her a quadriplegic or brain dead – severing either her spine or a major artery to the brain.
Rosa is expected to make a full recovery and should be discharged within the next week.
Police have investigated the incident to determine if a crime had actually been committed but have ruled it an unfortunate accident, for now. Once Rosa recovers, she will be questioned to get a clearer idea of exactly what happened.
Spear guns are fishing implements designed to fire a spear (at fish) underwater and composed of a metal spear, stock/barrel, and grip with a trigger. The two most common types are (rubber) band powered and air powered (pneumatic), and the guns are made from wood and or metal.
Spears/harpoons are elongated steel shafts which sit slightly longer than the stock of the gun along the barrel or track and can be six to 10mm in diameter and vary in length.
A pneumatic gun differs from a rubber model in that it has a thicker spear that goes inside a sealed internal barrel encased in a hollow sealed outer casing that contains the air which is at ambient pressure until it is pumped up by hand to a pressure equal to one strong rubber band.
When loaded, caution must be exercised as spear guns can be dangerous, as two Florida teens learned last summer when one was impale with a three-foot long spear in the skull and brain. Yasser Lopez, 16, was spear fishing with a friend in June, when his friend accidentally shot him while loading the device. The bolt entered Lopez’s skull above the right eye, penetrated the brain, and exited through the back of his head.
According to Fox News, in an equally miraculous twist to Rosa’s story, Lopez also survived the injury after undergoing three hours of emergency surgery at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. However, Lopez required intensive rehabilitation thereafter.
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