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Flying sturgeon knocks jet skier unconscious

8/9/2006

WILDWOOD, Fla. — A man riding a personal watercraft was
injured after a 4-foot-long sturgeon jumped out of the water and
hit him, wildlife officials said.

Blake Nicholas Fessenden, 23, was heading north on the Suwannee
River on Sunday when he was hit and fell off the craft, according
to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission. Fessenden was knocked unconscious.

His girlfriend was riding another watercraft behind him and was
able to get to Fessenden and hold his head above water before
passengers on another vessel arrived to pull him from the water,
officials said. He was airlifted to a Gainesville hospital with
non-life-threatening injuries, officials said.

A 31-year-old woman was hospitalized in April after a
3-foot-long sturgeon jumped into a boat being driven by the woman's
fiancé. The pair was also on the Suwannee River.

Officials at the time said similar accidents occur once or twice
a year on the river and that the fish can jump as high as 8 feet in
the air and can weigh up to 200 pounds.