WILDWOOD, Fla. – A man riding a personal watercraft on the Suwannee River 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 Sunday just north of the Hart Springs Sand Bar 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 Shands Hospital in Gainesville 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 fiance. 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.