GANIESVILLE, FL—Leaping gulf sturgeon continue to raise a ruckus on Florida’s Suwannee River this year, after a record 10 people were injured by the airborne fish last year.
Already in 2007 a jumping fish broke a 6-year-old girl’s leg and left her aunt with cuts and bruises.
Taylor Lane Owen was a passenger on a 20-foot vessel when a three-foot sturgeon leapt out of the river about nine miles west of Chiefland. It was the third confirmed sturgeon strike and fourth injury for 2007.
Earlier this year a woman was knocked unconscious by one of the protected fish when the boat in which she was riding passed a bridge near Rock Bluff. In April a sturgeon severely injured a 50-year-old woman riding a personal watercraft on the river. She suffered a ruptured spleen and had three fingers reattached by surgeons, but she lost one finger and a tooth.
After a record ten people were injured by jumping sturgeon in 2006, signs were placed at boat ramps and other points along the Suwannee, warning boaters of the river’s famous flying fish, which can top 8 feet and weigh up to 200 pounds.
A protected species, gulf sturgeon enter the Suwannee River from the Gulf of Mexico and spawn there during the summer months.