Brianne H. Megargel, 31, was seriously injured last Saturday by a 70-pound sturgeon that jumped in front of the speeding boat she was aboard, with her husband, Steve, and his 10-year-old son, Greyson.
The collision knocked Megargel out of the water and left her temporarily unconscious, with two broken arms, a broken collarbone, broken ribs, a lacerated liver and face injuries.
Steve Megargel jumped overboard to rescue his wife while Greyson maneuvered the boat to stay close to the pair in the swift water.
Ultimately, Brianne was airlifted to a University of Florida hospital, fortunate to be alive.
"She is a tough cookie, that's for sure," Megargel's father, Michael Hart, told the Gainesville Sun. "She's always been an active person. Now she's in bed with two broken arms and realizing she isn't going to be able to do anything for herself."
The 17-foot boat was traveling about 25 mph when the collision occurred.
Though it can be regarded as a freak accident, similar accidents have occurred to boaters on the Suwannee and Santa Fe rivers during the spring spawning season.
In fact, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, six Florida boaters were injured last year by leaping sturgeon.
Gulf sturgeon, which are a protected species, can measure eight feet and weigh 200 pounds.
-- Image of a leaping sturgeon is courtesy of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission