Florida fisherman has hand bitten off by 9ft alligator as he reels in fish

Witness says aligator lunged at fisherman from pond for the fish he was reeling in

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Wednesday 13 March 2024 04:00 GMT
Related: Cannibal alligator devours another alligator in startling video

A Florida fisherman is in hospital after a massive alligator bit off his hand near a golf course pond over the weekend.

The man, who has not been named, was reeling in a fish from the pond in Leesburg, Lake County, when the nine-foot-long alligator lunged at him on Sunday.

The survivor was on the ground when the alligator "got the guy in the hand", said witness Ron Priest, describing the attack.

The alligator lunged at the man, opened its jaws, and chomped off his hand, Mr Priest told FOX 35. "The gator was after [the] fish, and what we don't know is if the guy was trying to unhook the fish," he said.

Following the attack, the alligator swam back into the water without the fish, leaving the bleeding man writhing in pain.

Mr Priest's wife was one of the two witnesses of the animal attack who called 911 for help. In the calls released by the Lake County Fire Rescue officials, the caller could be heard requesting immediate help in a panicked voice.

“There is a gator attacking a man in my backyard!” a caller shouted into the phone, according to FOX35. “Some people now have stopped in their golf carts!”

The caller informed the dispatcher that the man was walking around with blood on his hands and "moaning and groaning constantly".

A medical helicopter was rushed to the scene and the injured man was airlifted to a hospital in Orlando.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the fisherman's hand and wrist were injured. It added that an officer from the commission responded to the scene and removed the "nuisance gator" following protocol.

"The likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only one in 3.1 million," the commission said in a human alligator incidents fact sheet.

Tragic incidents of this sort are by no means uncommon in Florida but nor are they as prevalent as one might believe, the commission said. The FWC estimates that the state is home to approximately 1.3m alligators of every size across its 67 counties, which offer around 6.7m acres of suitable wetland habitats for the animals.

The commission has kept a record of “unprovoked bite incidents” since 1948 and reports that, between that date and November 2021, there were only 442. Only 26 of those resulted in human fatalities.

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