5-Year-Old Florida Girl Killed After Leaping Fish Lands in Her Boat
The girl's brother and mother were also injured, officials said
A 5-year-old Florida girl was killed earlier this week after being hit by a jumping sturgeon in her family’s boat, The Tampa Tribune reports.
Officials told the paper that Jaylon Rippy was struck Thursday by the fish while boating on the Suwannee River. According to a GoFundMe set up for the family, Rippy died early Friday, and both her brother and mother could require surgery.
This is the first sturgeon fatality on the Suwannee, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials told the Tribune, although jumping sturgeons have a history of injuring boaters – sometimes seriously.
A woman’s spleen was ruptured and she lost both a pinkie and a tooth, after a sturgeon hit her on the same river in 2007, according to the Tribune.
Sturgeons are covered in bony plates, and most often jump from the water in the summer.
Earlier this week, a 9-year-old boy caught a sturgeon that weighed an estimated 600 pounds.
“You’ve got people sitting on the front of an open boat, and the boat is going 20, 30, 40 miles per hour. The fish jumps up and usually slaps these people right across their face and upper chest. Almost every one of them universally has been knocked unconscious,” one trauma surgeon told the New York Times in 2007.
Since it was posted Friday, the GoFundme supporting the Rippy family has raised more than $7,800.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this time,” Maj. Andy Krause, the FWC regional commander in Lake City, told the Tribune. “This is a terrible tragedy.”