Navy Recon Trainee Killed by Fish

A portrait of Kriangsak Pengpanich is shown at his funeral Thursday.

BANGKOK — A naval Special Forces cadet died in a freak accident while training off the coast of Trat province, the navy said Thursday.

Kriangsak Pengpanich, 22, was swimming Wednesday in the open sea when a carnivorous, shallow-water fish struck him in the neck at high speed, the navy said in a statement. Kriangsak, who served in the marine corps, was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The cadet was undergoing a 60-hour training course to join the Recons, an elite amphibious unit operating under the Navy when he was struck by the needlefish.

A photo released by the navy shows a seaman posing with the needlefish. Image: Wassana Nanuam / Facebook

Although needlefish are not naturally aggressive toward humans, there have been rare cases of fatal encounters, usually involving children.

Marine ecologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat posted online that it’s the first time he had heard of an attack by needlefish in Thailand.

A funeral for Kriangsak will be held through Tuesday in the Sattahip district of Chonburi province.