Fishing trip gone wrong!

Needlefish ( Getty Images/iStockphoto )

On 24th January 2020, a 16-year-old Indonesian boy set out on a fishing voyage floating on the waves of waters near Wakinamboro village, in Southern Indonesia. Muhammad Idul, was on a fishing boat late at night, when his friend, Sardi, turned on his flashlight, 500m away from the shore, when a sea creature attacked him out of the blue. That sea creature happened to be a 75 cm long needlefish that leaped and pierced through the boy’s neck. Idul, somehow managed to swim back to the shore after the thrust threw him in the water.


Just by looking at the picture of a thin sleek body with an elongated needle-like beak, one can name this as Needlefish.

Needlefish, from the family Belonidae, is a unique acrobatic, carnivorous fish, inhabiting the Atlantic and the Pacific waters, dwelling mostly in shallow waters, near the surfaces. Tropical climate attracts needlefish hence the abundance in tropical areas.
Needlefish can be of various sizes from few inches to several feet, depending upon the species, while the hardest to fight and the largest being ‘Crocodile Needlefish’ or ‘Houndfish’ measuring between 3 to 5 feet in length and up to 10 Lbs of weight, leaping in and out of the water. Other species include:

Atlantic Needlefish (Strongylura marina): < 1 foot
Pacific (tylosurus acus pacificus): up to 2 feet
Barred Needlefish (Ablennes hians): up to 2 feet

The case in discussion here is of a rare kind as Needlefish quite seldom attacks humans, but when it does, it can pierce through vital organs like eyes, heart, lungs, neck vessels, etc with its pointed needle-shaped mouth. Survival is unlikely in the event of rupture of any of the vital structures, thus Muhammad Idul’s miraculous survival is astounding.

The first aid rule of all penetrating injuries is to NOT pull the object that has pierced its way into the body. This is to avoid further damage that would occur in the event of pulling out. However, it should only be attempted in the operating theatre or in a hospital setting under professional care. Luckily, Idul’s friend, Sardi, knew this rule. Idul said: “He stopped me from trying to remove the fish to prevent bleeding”

The victim was shifted to the hospital, where a two-hour-long surgical procedure was performed by a team of five specialists to remove the fish snout. Such a complicated procedure is to be dealt with utter care as the neck has all the major vessels. Postoperatively, the boy was stable and last reported, after five days of the incident, to be under supervision.

The Needlefish:
– can swim with a speed of 60 km/h.
– are renowned for leaping over small boats, instead of swimming below the boats


(n.d.). Retrieved from

(n.d.). Retrieved from aboutanimals:

Indonesian needlefish boy: ‘A fish jumped out of the sea and stabbed my neck’. (2020, January 24th). Retrieved from BBC Asia:

Needlefish. (n.d.). Retrieved from fishbooker:

Previous articleA Man Suffered Splitting Headaches For Years Caused By Tapeworm In His Brain
Next articleWorld Cancer Day
Dr. Arsia Hanif has been a meritorious Healthcare professional with a proven track record throughout her academic life securing first position in her MCAT examination and then, in 2017, she successfully completed her Bachelors of Medicine and Surgery from Dow University of Health Sciences. She has had the opportunity to apply her theoretical knowledge to the real-life scenarios, as a House Officer (HO) serving at Civil Hospital. Whilst working at the Civil Hospital, she discovered that nothing satisfies her more than helping other humans in need and since then has made a commitment to implement her expertise in the field of medicine to cure the sick and regain the state of health and well-being. Being a Doctor is exactly what you’d think it’s like. She is the colleague at work that everyone wants to know but nobody wants to be. If you want to get something done, you approach her – everyone knows that! She is currently studying with Medical Council of Canada and aspires to be a leading Neurologist someday. Alongside, she has taken up medical writing to exercise her skills of delivering comprehensible version of the otherwise difficult medical literature. Her breaks comprise either of swimming, volunteering services at a Medical Camp or spending time with family.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here