Leaping sturgeon kills child in Florida

A leaping sturgeon struck and killed a five-year-old girl boating with her family on a river in Florida, and a similar incident injured two adults in a different part of the state, wildlife officials said.

Jaylon Rippy was boating with her family on the Suwannee River in northwest Florida near Fanning Springs when the jumping fish injured the young girl along with her mother and her nine-year-old brother, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission said.

The family members, who were from nearby Trenton, were airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville but the girl did not survive. The conditions of the girl’s mother and brother were not clear.

On Friday, two adults travelling in a boat on the Santa Fe River between the Suwannee River and a Branford area campground were also struck by a leaping sturgeon, Fish and Wildlife Commission officials said.

It is unusual for sturgeons to strike boaters in Florida on consecutive days, said Fish and Wildlife Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker.

But wildlife officials warned people to be aware of the threat from the toothless fish.

Research has found that sturgeons jump to equalise pressure in their swim bladders and communicate with other sturgeons.


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