Man Dead After Possible Sturgeon Encounter
21 year old Roderick Page of Chiefland went missing Monday evening and the search continued all day Tuesday. But about 5 P.M., Page's body was discovered in about 24 feet of water in the middle of the Suwannee River.
Monday, Page and friend Brian Norris were on the river when a large fish, possibly a sturgeon, jumped in front of the boat and both fell out of the boat. Norris made it to shore.
Murky water and a swift current had made the conditions less than ideal. It took some special sonar equipment to finally locate Page's body.
All day Tuesday, Page's friends and family waited on shore, hoping against hope that Roderick would turn up safe and sound. Despite hoping for the best, it was their worst fears that would come to pass.
A cousin, Richard Buie, described Roderick as very friendly and quiet with three young children. Buie says Monday was Page's first time out fishing with Norris at the Fowler's Bluff boat ramp. Signs warn boaters of the dangers of sturgeons swimming under the surface.
Russell Studstill let the two men borrow his 12 foot aluminum boat yesterday because the boat they brought wouldn't start. Now he wishes he wouldn't have lent it out.
"We heard a guy on the a scanner right here at the boat ramp," says Studstill. "When we realized it was two guys that went out on a boat, we immediately knew who it was."
The boat was found about a mile south of the boat ramp stuck on the west or Dixie County side of the Suwannee River, still running. Brian Norris got out on that side, and then got back in the river and swam to the Levy County side where he was eventually found.
"The only thing he (Norris) remembered was the fish coming out of the water," says Buie. "He didn't know if the fish hit him or Rod. He says he just remembers them going out of the boat and that was the last thing he remembered."
Neither man was wearing a life jacket.
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV20 News
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