About 10 days after a man lost his $30,000 prosthetic leg while swimming in the Gulf of Mexico near Destin, Florida, a surprised shrimp boat captain hauled it in while fishing. He then tracked the owner down and has arranged to return the leg.
It was initially a scary haul for Matt Willingham, who said one of his fishermen saw the leg in a turtle excluder, a specialized device that allows a captured sea turtle to escape when caught in a fisherman’s net. According to the Northwest Florida Daily News, Willingham was relieved to discover that it was a prosthetic leg and that he had not found a body.
Willingham reached out to the media, which helped publicize his unusual catch, and that – along with contacting the manufacturer – led to the owner of the leg. As it turned out, it really wasn’t hard to track down Fred Robinson, of Crestview, Florida, who lost it while swimming in Choctawhatchee Bay between Fort Walton Beach and Destin over the Memorial Day weekend. Robinson played football for the University of Kentucky in the 1980s, and his prosthetic leg is emblazoned with the UK logo, as well as the university’s motto and wildcat mascot.
“I got the call and I was shocked! I just started laughing, they found my leg!” Robinson told WKYT TV in Lexington, Kentucky.
Robinson said he went swimming while boating and the current sucked the limb out from under him. He tried to retrieve it but could not. He said he thought he would never see the prosthetic leg again, and was elated that it turned up in good shape.