FWC officers safely remove eagle ray from charter boat
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Media contact: Officer Robert Dube, 305-684-8703
A tourist in the Florida Keys has an incredible story to share
after a close encounter with a spotted eagle ray. While on routine
patrol March 25 in Whale Harbor Channel, officers with the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed an eco-tour
charter boat in which passengers were taking photos of a spotted
eagle ray in the water.
Moments later, the officers heard a commotion coming from the
boat. They headed toward it and realized that the approximately
200-pound ray had leaped from the water and landed in the boat,
hitting a female passenger in the chest. The woman was not injured,
but the ray was thrashing violently in the bow area.
The officers boarded the boat, were able to return the ray
safely to the water, and watched it swim away.
"It was an incredible experience; we are really happy that no
one was hurt and the eagle ray survived," said Officer Aja Vickers,
one of the two officers at the scene. "We are glad we were nearby
and could provide a timely response."
Spotted eagle rays are commonly found in shallow inshore waters.
They can have a wingspan of up to 10 feet and weigh as much as 500
pounds. They are protected in state waters. For
more information on spotted eagle rays, visit
MyFWC.com/Research and click on "Saltwater."