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Flying Fish Send Two Florida Boaters to the Hospital; Sixth Sturgeon Strike this Summer

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SARASOTA, Florida -- A sturgeon in the Suwannee River injured two boaters Saturday when it leaped from the water, knocking one girl from the boat and breaking the arm of another passenger.

Cheyenne Russ, 9, and Jennifer Sullivan, 31, both of Lake City, were taken to Gainesville's Shands Hospital after the Saturday accident.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Officer Dorvan Daniel witnessed the strike.

"I saw this vessel . . . coming toward me at about 30 miles per hour. I watched as the fish jumped out of the water and heard the impact when it hit. The child was knocked out of the boat and into the water," said Daniel, who estimated the fish was 4 ½-feet long.

"Boaters have been seriously injured when hit by these fish," FWC Maj. Bruce Hamlin said. "This is the sixth reported sturgeon strike this summer."

The fish winter in the Gulf of Mexico and enter the Suwannee in the summer and fall to spawn.

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