News Releases

Chiefland woman struck by sturgeon

News Release

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A Chiefland woman was struck by a jumping sturgeon about at about 4 p.m. June 2 while she and her family were boating on the Suwannee River, near Manatee Springs State Park.

Brianne H. Megargel (DOB 11/06/79) was with her husband, Stephen V. Megargel (DOB 06/07/69) and his 10-year-old son, Grayson Megargel, traveling north at about 25 mph in their 17-foot open boat when the accident happened, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators.

The sturgeon jumped out of the water and struck Brianne, who was sitting on the starboard side of the boat. The fish knocked her unconscious, and the impact knocked her out of the boat. Witnesses reported that the fish was about 60 to 70 pounds, investigators said.

Her husband jumped into the water to rescue her, while his young son operated the 1998, 17-foot Silver King vessel. The two of them got her back on the boat and brought her to Manatee Springs State Park.

Megargel was transported to Shands Hospital in Gainesville by helicopter. She suffered multiple injuries.

This is the second reported sturgeon encounter for 2012. The first occurred near Rock Bluff on May 11, when an Old Town man was injured when he collided with a sturgeon that had jumped out of the Suwannee River in front of his boat.

The FWC is investigating the accident.

FWC Facts:
Most horseshoe crab nesting activity takes place during high tides in the three days before and after a new or full moon.

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