It sounds like a clip from "America's Funniest Home Videos": A kayaker had to drop out of a race last week in Kansas City, Kan., after he was hit in the head by a 30-pound Asian silver carp.
But the flying fish pose serious problems beyond potential head injuries: They are consuming the food supply in rivers, pushing out native species and threatening Kansas' $250 million sport fishing economy.
Houston resident Brad Pennington was competing in the Missouri River 340, an annual canoe and kayak race, and was considered one of the favorites. That was until the carp leaped out of the water and hit him in the head.
"It felt like a brick hit me," Pennington told Associated Press.
Such accidents are a growing concern on the Missouri and Kansas rivers, as well as rivers in other states.
"It's extremely serious. Those things can kill you," one U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee said.
Just as serious is the damage these fish are doing to ecosystems — and the risk that they could spread to other rivers and lakes in Kansas.
The fish were first introduced in the United States in the 1970s to control plankton and algae on ponds and to be raised as fish food. But some of the carp escaped and worked their way up rivers and tributaries.
Then in the 1990s, their population exploded and they began taking over some rivers, particularly the Illinois River.
Asian carp first showed up in the Kansas River in 2006. Now, an estimated 1 million or more just-hatched Asian carp live in the Kansas and Missouri rivers and their tributaries.
Fortunately, the Arkansas River is currently free of Asian carp. But a few of the fish have been found in the Verdigris and Neosho rivers of south-central Kansas, and biologists fear that anglers could help spread them by using young carp as bait fish.
State wildlife officials are trying to educate people about not transporting the fish, and there are hefty fines for doing so. But as with Zebra mussels, which are also spreading across Kansas, the fish are difficult to contain.
The problems the fish are causing are yet another lesson in the dangers of introducing non-native species into a new ecosystem; you don't know what can happen.
In the meantime, if you ever go boating on the Kansas or Missouri rivers, be ready to duck.