An Alabama family got the fishing adventure of a lifetime after a massive spotted eagle ray jumped right into their boat. The family was participating in the state’s deep fishing rodeo recently when they got the huge surprise.
An estimated 400 pounds and 7 feet long surprise!
To say April Jones was scared after the huge ray jumped into the family boat and hit her would be an understatement.
“Very scared, very scared,” Jones told KNOE News. “Not only the fact that we have this wild creature in our boat, we couldn’t get her out, and the boat is not very big and she was weighing the back of the boat down.”
The Jones family’s scare began when they were fishing near Dauphin Island. April was holding onto her fishing rod when the rare stingray smacked her on the right side of her body, knocking the rod out of her hands and crushing it underneath its weight. Her young son Gunner and husband, Jeremy were stunned. They also initially thought the ray had brought along a shark.
The ray had a large remora stuck to the bottom of her belly, which came loose when the ray landed onboard.
“It was scary. I thought it was a shark,” Gunnar told CBC’s As It Happens. “I stared at it and kept screaming.”
Realizing both the ray and they were in danger they tried to get the giant fish back into the water but had no luck.
“We tried to use the end of the net for leverage to try and get her out (with no success). We could not get her out of the boat so there is NO way possible we could have got her in the boat,” April wrote on Facebook.
They began making some calls and then headed toward the Dauphin Island Sea Lab to get help.
With assistance from four men, the Jones got the massive ray back into the water and she swam away. That’s when they made a heartbreaking discovery underneath the ray. She had given birth to four pups, but they did not survive.
“We are devastated the babies did not survive but there was nothing we could have done,” April wrote. April assumes that it was the stress that caused the mama to give birth prematurely.
The baby rays will be donated to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and the lab will use them for research.
The family then took April to the ER to get her shoulder checked out. She suffered from a strained muscle from where the ray hit her. “It definitely hurt. It felt like I was probably in a car accident,” she told CBC.
“For now I have a shoulder strain and sore collar bone, I was told if not better in a few days see a doctor for possible further injuries,” she wrote on Facebook.
April joked to Fox News afterwards, “Trying to explain to people, this is what happened like even when I went into the emergency room, I was like I know no one’s gonna believe me but I have pictures to show it.”
The Jones family later learned from the Dauphin Island Sea Lab that it was a one in a million chance for this to happen. “She could have been running from a predator,” April Jones said after meeting with DISL. “There have been people that have seen them, you know, just jump out of the water.”
Thankfully, the adventure ended with both the Joneses and the ray being all right.