News Releases

Jacksonville man injured in accident on St. Johns River

News Release

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

A Jacksonville man was injured in a boating accident that happened Aug. 29 at 5 p.m., according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) investigators.

Rodney M. Abernethy (DOB 07/04/45) was fishing on the north side of the Fuller Warren Bridge in the St. Johns River. He was anchored east of the center span bridge fender in his 1980, 17-foot, center-console boat.

Investigators said the outgoing tide was running very strong and at some point, the anchor line fouled the prop of the motor. This caused the boat's stern to face the outgoing tide. Water poured over the stern, sinking the vessel.

Abernethy was then caught up in the strong river current and was found unconscious by a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office marine unit south of the Acosta Railroad bridge, according to FWC officials.

Deputies performed CPR and transferred him to the Jacksonville Fire Rescue vessel. Abernethy was transported to Baptist Medical Center.

The accident is still under investigation, FWC investigators said.

FWC Facts:
Along the Florida coast from 1990 to 2011, sea turtles annually made between 51,000 and 93,000 nests.

Learn More at AskFWC