Friday, 27 August 2010

Kayaker forced out of race by aerial fish

Tom Phillips - 27 August 2010

A favourite in a long-distance kayak race was forced to pull out of the competition after he was hit on the head by a flying carp.

Brad Pennington was competing in the annual Missouri River 340 endurance race, and was considered one of the favourites for the men's solo race.

But it all when wrong for Pennington when a 30-pound Asian silver carp leapt out of the river and struck him hard on the head.

'It felt like a brick hit me,' Pennington said Wednesday.

The fish hit forced him to withdraw just hours into the 340-mile race because of a 'pounding, pounding headache that kept getting worse.'

43-year-old Pennington was already having some problems with his kayak, which had been slightly damaged. It was as he was heading to shore to repaitr it that the jumpy fish caught him on the head. The carp are known to panic and jump in response to passing vessels.

'It's definitely a risk of being out on the river,' commented said Tracy Hill, a project leader for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's local fisheries office. 'It's extremely serious. Those things can kill you.'

Hill says he was hit several times by flying carp a few days before while conducting tests on the river. He and his colleagues already wear construction hard hats while working, to protect themselves from the risks of airborne fish impact.

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