A bicyclist was attacked by an 9-foot alligator in Florida yesterday (July 19) after an accident sent him into the water.
According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the cyclist suffered serious injuries after the alligator grabbed him after he fell down an embankment around 11 a.m. in Halpatiokee Regional Park. The park is located near Florida’s eastern coast south of Port St. Lucie.
The bicyclist is an experienced rider who lost control on a curve, Scott Lorraine with the Airborne Mountain Bike Club told NBC affiliate WPTV of West Palm Beach.
“He went right into the water, and then just as bad luck would be, the gator was right there,” Lorraine, who came upon the scene, told the station.
Another witness, Charlie Shannon, was walking his dog Monday when he came upon the biker in distress saying, “He had a lot of marks all over his leg, but mainly in the upper thigh. He was hanging on roots like five feet below,” Shannon said. “It was hard to get him out.”
Shannon used his dog leash as a makeshift tourniquet as he and others lifted the man out of the embankment. “I hope he’s all right, and just to be able to get him out of the water and tie it off, I think that helped,” Shannon said.
The injured bicyclist was taken by medical helicopter to a hospital, the sheriff’s office said.
Man seriously injured after being bit by an alligator at Halpatiokee Park in Stuart. Victim fell off of his bike and said he was attacked. First responders on are the scene now. pic.twitter.com/41d07hpZIT— MartinCountySheriff (@MartinFLSheriff) July 19, 2021
The alligator was captured by trapper John Davidson, who warned that gators are extra aggressive this time of year. The big gator was an 8-foot long female who was most likely protecting her nest. The gator will be relocated; it was the third he had picked up on Monday alone.
“She was sitting 10 feet off the bank when I showed up,” Davidson said. “That leads me to believe that she was a female and sitting on a nest somewhere close. So we’ll attempt to rescue the babies if we can.”
There are around seven unprovoked alligator attacks in Florida each year that are serious enough to require professional medical treatment, according to the fish and wildlife commission. 25 people have died from alligator attacks in the state from 1948 to 2019.