RUSKIN, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa woman is recovering after being impaled by a venomous stingray while in Ruskin. The stingray’s barb was buried a few inches deep into her back, just missing her lungs. She’s now sharing her terrifying experience while in the hospital with 8 On Your Side.

Kristie Cataffo-O’Brien said she and her husband visited Bahia Beach to grab lunch and hang out in the water. They were knee-deep when the barb of a stingray impaled her back.

“He was like, ‘Stay still, don’t move,’” said Cataffo-O’Brien. “He was kind of holding my weight and the stingray’s weight in the water.”

She said she’s still in shock.

“I felt something sting me right away. I felt like it was a jellyfish maybe or something, but it was super, super painful,” said Cataffo-O’Brien. “I started to stand up, and that’s when he was like, ‘No, don’t move at all, there’s a stingray and it’s on you.'”

Cataffo-O’Brien said she was just trying to cool off and leaned back into the water. Her husband kept her calm.

“The stingray was moving and flopping around and anytime there was a wave, or anything moved, I could feel the barb just driving into my back,” she said.

It came close, three centimeters too close from piercing her lung.

911 was called, but Cataffo-O’Brien said it took 45 minutes for first responders to arrive. She was then rushed to the hospital, where doctors surgically removed the barb.

“We’re kind of at the mercy of the marine life,” she said. “This is their territory, it’s not our territory. I lived in Florida for a very long time. You never think anything like that can happen, and I’m still in shock.”

Cataffo-O’Brien is now on medication to fight off the stingray’s venom and any potential infection.

Her family set up a GoFundMe to help her with medical expenses while she is off work to recover.