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Leaping sturgeon suspected in boater’s death

OCT. 8 — Nine people in Florida this year have had severe encounters with leaping sturgeon, according to the New York Times, the most recent being the death of a 22-year-old man of Chiefland, Fla.

The man was reportedly on a 12-foot aluminum boat operated by a friend on the SuwanneeRiver, Sept. 24, when a 3-foot fish jumped up in front of the boat. When the operator made a sharp turn, both men fell out, according to the news report. Neither was wearing a life jacket.

The operator of the boat swam to shore. The second man’s body was recovered the next day in 24 feet of water, half a mile from where the men started their fishing trip in Fowler’s Bluff, Fla. An autopsy later revealed the man had drowned, according to the news report.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission believes a sturgeon could have been the culprit, since the fish are most commonly found in the Suwannee, but the investigation is still ongoing.

— Elizabeth Ellis