A Florida family was relaxing out on their boat last week when a horrific tragedy suddenly struck.
The Rippy family took their boat out on the Suwannee River on Thursday to start out their Independence Day weekend. According to Conservative Tribune, all was going well until a large Sturgeon jumped out of the water and into their boat. The Sturgeon seriously injured five year-old Jaylin Rippy as well as her nine year-old brother, Trevor, and their mom, Tanya Faye.
Sadly, little Jaylin later died from her injuries. Doctors say Trevor and Tanya will both survive, but they are going to need serious facial reconstruction surgery.
This incident wasn’t as isolated as you might think. Two other boaters on the nearby Santa Fe River were also injured from jumping Sturgeon over Independence Day weekend, and at least four others have been hurt by the fish this year.
Sturgeons can grow to be eight feet long and weigh as much as 200 pounds, and they can jump seven feet out of the water. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has warned boaters to wear life jackets and avoid sitting on the edge of their boats to lower their chances of having an encounter with a Sturgeon.
“With the low water levels in the river system, the sturgeon are jumping much more frequently than in recent years,” said Maj. Andy Krause, FWC regional commander in Lake City. “We want everyone boating on the Suwannee and Santa Fe Rivers to be aware that the sturgeon are jumping and that people have been injured.”
Unfortunately, there is little else that can be done to avoid sturgeons other than not going out on the water at all.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Rippy family, and it has already raised over $10,000. We’ll be praying for them, and for the soul of little Jaylin!