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Harpoon fishing is typically a threat to fish, not the humans wielding the weapon. That was not the case for a 27-year-old man on a fishing trip in Brazil when the 3-foot spear pierced his face.

The man, identified by local television reports as Hugo Pereira da Silva, was on a fishing trip with a friend at the Rio Paranaiba dam in Araguari when the horrific mishap happened, according to Diaro de Pernambuco.

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“Unfortunately, they were not careful with the positioning, the distance,” Araguari fire department Deputy Lt. Lucenildo Batista Alves told the site. “And the waters of the river in our region are murky, especially in the very dirty rainy season.”

How Silva was shot with the harpoon isn’t yet clear. It is not known if his friend, who is said to have been fishing on the other side of the dam, fired the spear. However, it is illegal to use harpoons from November through February, according to authorities, who are investigating the fishing trip for that reason.

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“We do not know if the friend saw any fish or if the gun fired alone, but it hit the face of this boy,” Alves told, according to a translation of the page. “He was very lucky, as the harpoon crossed the soft part of the mouth, did not reach any bone or more sensitive part, such as the brain. It could have been fatal.”