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Sturgeon Strikes, Kills Florida Child

Unfortunately, a tragic story crossed our desks this morning. According to, 5-year-old Jaylon Rippy of Trenton, Fla. was spending Thursday, July 2 on a family friend’s boat on the Suwannee River when a large sturgeon jumped out of the water, collided with the boat and struck her. 

Although she was airlifted to a Gainesville hospital, she was unable to survive. Her mother and 9-year-old brother were also hit by the sturgeon, but they survived the incident. Mother Tanya Rippy suffered injuries to her face and brother Trevor Rippy suffered a broken arm. 

Jaylon’s father was uninjured. 

Sturgeon can grow to massive sizes and easily exceed 200 pounds. Although nobody knows why they jump, they can often be seen 7 feet out of the water. This is the first fatality caused by a sturgeon strike on the Suwannee River, but many others have been injured this year by the fish. 

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family at this time,” said Andy Krause, regional director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commision. “This is a terrible tragedy.”

The incident is still under investigation.