A little over 2 weeks ago, I heard on the news that a dolphin propelled itself onto the deck of a boat off Marco Island, Florida, spraining a woman's ankle. I remembered other incidents of marine animals jumping into boats - including a notable fatality involving an eagle ray (1st image) - and researched a possible post. Lo and behold, just last night the local news broadcast another story of an eagle ray jumping on board a boat and pinning a woman to the deck. Here are the 2 stories:
- March 25, 2011: Jenny Hansch, a tourist on a charter boat off Islamorada, Florida, is OK after a 300lb spotted eagle ray (2nd image) leaped out of the water and landed on top of her, pinning the woman to the deck. Captain Kelly Klein describes, "The thing was trying to swim out, and it's slamming, it's doing its thing with its body, trying to get out of the boat, and she is underneath it."
- March 20, 2008: Judy Kay Zagorski, 57, was killed by the impact (not the barb) of a 75lb devil ray with a 5'-6' wingspan (3rd image) after it jumped up out of the water into the boat her father was driving off the Florida Keys. "It happened within a fraction of a second. There's nothing that anybody could have done any differently. There's nothing that the father, who was operating the vessel, could have done differently. There's nothing that the victim could have done differently. It's just a freak accident," said a Florida wildlife official.
- July 2004: Ziggy Zablotny, 65, had his hand broken and his finger badly lacerated by a 30lb barracuda that jumped 30' into a 33' boat near Wilmington Island, Georgia.
- July 2005: Stephen Schultz, 18, is struck in the face by a 600lb black marlin while fishing off the coast of Panama. He recalls, "I was fighting with the fish for about 25 minutes before it happened. He jumped once, facing away from the boat and turned around in mid-air; he was about 15 feet away; went back into the water, made one more jump toward the back of the boat and his bill struck me on the left side of the face and knocked me onto the ground."
- April 2006: Dawn Poirier was hit in the face by a leaping Gulf sturgeon on the Suwanee River near Gainesville, Florida, and required plastic surgery to her face.
- August 2009: Michael Powers narrowly missed being injured when a 5 1/2 foot bull shark leaped onto their 21' boat and violently thrashed about the deck off Haulover Beach, Florida.
- June 2010: Koral Wira, 14, received multiple gashes in her left arm when a 30lb, 4' barracuda, leapt out of the water.
- July 2010: Ralph Mothes and Paloma Werner were on their 33' yacht when it was smashed off the coast of South Africa by a 40-ton whale leaping into the air.