A Perth man has spoken of almost losing his foot after stepping on a stingray while on holiday in Western Australia's Pilbara.
Jayben Henry, 42, has only just recovered from the surgery needed to remove several pieces of stingray barb, more than a month after the incident at Hearson's Cove near Dampier.
Warning: this story contains a graphic image.
The East Fremantle man said he had been looking for mudcrabs in puddles at low tide with his young niece and nephew when he saw a small stingray swim past.
"I yelled out to my niece to have a look at it, and as we were watching that one, I stepped on another ray," Mr Henry said.
Mr Henry, who has stepped on cobblers before and suffered the bends after two diving excursions, said he has never experienced such intense pain.
"I've had lots of injuries but this took the cake for the most painful thing I've ever experienced in my life," he said.
"I just felt an almighty crack, right up my spine and a feeling like somebody had slammed a hot soldering iron into my ankle."
"The pain was 10 out of 10."
Mr Henry said the local hospital treated a small hole in his ankle by putting his foot in a bucket of hot water and giving him antibiotics.
He was given the all clear to return home, but says a few weeks later the pain and swelling returned and he was back in hospital.
An ultrasound at Perth's Fiona Stanley Hospital revealed multiple fragments of barb, which had to be surgically removed.
"The doctor told me that when they got in there, it was badly infected all up my tendon sheath and they had to wash out my ankle joint," Mr Henry said.
"I ended up with a lot of stitches ... about 19 in total.
Mr Henry said he did not want to think of what could have happened if he had not received treatment.
"I just think of those early explorers who came to Western Australia," he said.
"If they had trod on a ray, then, it would have been amputation, or they might have died."