Two people were injured – one seriously – and two boats received significant damage during three separate encounters with jumping sturgeon on Florida’s Suwannee River over the weekend. The incidents bring to 11 the number of human-sturgeon encounters reported to the state so far this year.
The most serious injury happened Friday just south of the confluence of the Santa Fe River, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
April Baker, 31, of Plant City, was seated on the bow of a boat and was in front of the boat’s windshield when a sturgeon jumped out of the water. Baker and fish both hit the windshield, according to FWC spokeswoman Karen Parker. Baker was taken to Ellie Ray’s River Landing in Gilchrist County, where she was met by an ambulance crew. Parker said Baker’s injuries appeared to include significant dental damage that may require oral surgery to correct.
The second incident happened around 5 p.m. Saturday near the railroad trestle down river from Yellow Jackets campground, Parker said.
A boater told FWC that when he spotted a leaping sturgeon, he crouched down in his boat, but apparently not low enough. The sturgeon hit the boater in the head, cutting him multiple times, according to his report to FWC. The man also told FWC that his passenger was a nurse who tended to his injuries. The man estimated damage to his boat at $1,200.
An out-of-state visitor was involved in the third weekend incident.
Parker said the man told FWC on Monday that a leaping sturgeon did about $4,000 worth of damage to his boat on Sunday. The vacationing boater said he did not realize he was supposed to report the incident until he saw a sign along the river on Monday.
Source: The Gainesville Sun