Alabama family marvels after rare 400-pound spotted eagle ray jumps into their boat, gives birth
An Alabama family fishing off of the Gulf Coast got the experience of a lifetime when a rare spotted eagle ray leaped out of the water and into their boat.
April Jones told her family’s story on Facebook in a post that went viral.
Jones and her husband, son and father in-law were fishing off the waters of the Sand Island Lighthouse near Dauphin Island, Alabama, last Friday, when the estimated 400-pound creature jumped out of the water and landed in their boat.
Jones was smacked by the ray in the process.
“Not many people can say they were hit by a 5ft Spotted Eagle Ray but Mr. Rudy and myself can,” Jones wrote on Facebook. “This thing was beautiful but 400+ lbs jumping in a boat and hitting you doesn’t feel good (er trip for me) and absolutely scary.”
Jones said that the ray may have jumped into the boat because a suckerfish was stuck to her belly. Jones and the family found the suckerfish in the boat.
The ray was pregnant and gave birth on the boat.
“This Mama had four babies that didn’t make it due to being born early since she was stressed and we didn’t know until she was out of the boat,” Jone wrote. We are devastated the babies did not survive, but there was nothing we could have done.
The babies were donated to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab so others can learn about this amazing animal.
Jones did confirm that the ray did make it back into the water.
“Mama made it with the help of 4 grown men,” Jones wrote. “No one knows what they would have truly done unless they were in this situation, we did the best we could to keep the mama alive until we could get help. From what we know she is a protected species and at this time not endangered but are near threatened.”
Jones said that she suffered a shoulder strain and sore collar bone.
Despite the soreness and injury, Jones marveled at the experience.
“This is a story you would have needed to see to believe!! God made some beautiful creatures!!” Jones wrote.