DAUPHIN ISLAND, Ala. (WKRG) — A lackluster day of fishing for a Saraland woman turns into an adventure for her whole family after a giant eagle ray jumped into their boat Saturday afternoon and sent her to the hospital.
Check out these now-viral images of the massive eagle ray that jumped out of the water into April Jones and her family’s boat.
“It hit the right side of the body and pretty much had to go to the emergency room,” said April Jones describing the impact. She’s okay after a shoulder sprain–but an unnerving start.
“She starts screaming, I hear stuff breaking and flopping, my grandpa falls into me, I look back, this ray is laying in the back of the boat,” said husband Jeremy Jones describing the chaos that unfolded in seconds Saturday afternoon. What initially started as a scary encounter quickly turned into a sense of wonder as they tried to learn all they could about this majestic creature.
“We have an extraordinary diversity of fishes here in the north-central Gulf of Mexico and it’s a rare and exciting opportunity,” said Marcus Drymon with Mississippi State University. Drymon says the spotted eagle ray isn’t endangered but it’s rare for these waters. After the shock of getting socked by a fish they believe to weigh 400 pounds–they changed course for the Sea Lab and got some help to get the eagle ray back into the water.
“When we got it out of the boat I wasn’t as scared, it was kind of cool,” said their eight-year-old son Gunner. It was a mama eagle ray with four pups in tow–mama made it back to the water safely but the pups didn’t survive. The images took off online allowing them to share this amazing fish story.