A 17-year-old Florida teenager has lost his right arm after being attacked by an alligator, according to Tampa’s WTSP, CBS Channel 10. Kaleb Langdale, also known as “Fred,” was swimming in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven, Florida with friends when the alligator swam at him, seized his arm and dragged him under the water.
“The gator was about two feet away from him, just came straight at him,” Langdale’s friend Matthew Baker told WTSP.
When Langdale surfaced moments later, he was screaming. “My arm is gone!” he reportedly cried.
Gary Beck, who was on the shore, described the attack.
“As soon as he’d seen Fred, the gator was coming after him. On top of the water, as fast as he could pedal, his tail was wagging back and forth, he was coming,” he said.
According to Baker, Langdale did the only thing he could do under the circumstances to minimize the severity of the attack. He punched the alligator’s face before it bit him. “He’s been around alligators all his life, He’s smart enough, he knows if he offers him his arm, he won’t take his torso. He was smart, he took the risk,” he said.
After Langdale was bitten, he was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital while police and Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) officials mounted a frantic three-hour search to capture and kill the alligator and retrieve the teenager’s arm.
The arm was still in the alligator’s stomach when the animal was caught, but doctors were unable to reattach it.
A representative of the FWC said that this part of the year is the height of alligator mating season, making attacks more likely.
Watch video about this story, embedded via Tampa’s News 10 WTSP, below: