Teen recovering after attack; gator not so lucky
POSTED: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 11:00am
UPDATED: Saturday, July 14, 2012 - 11:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A Moore Haven, Florida teen lost his right arm from the elbow down in an alligator attack Monday.
The gator attacked while Kaleb Langdale, 17, was swimming with friends in the Caloosahatchee River.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Jorge Pino says the eleven foot gator was found and killed Monday evening after the attack.
Officials say the arm was found inside the gator.
"This area isn't Disneyland. It's right next to Lake Okeechobee and there are thousands of alligators here," said FWC Captain Jeff Ardelean.
Langdale was flown to Lee Memorial Hospital after the attack.
The arm was sent to the hospital as well, but friends said doctors were not able to reattach the limb.
Friends who were with Langdale at the time of the attack said they were in no way taunting the gator.
They say it seemed to have come out of nowhere.
"It came at him and he put his arm in the way instead of letting it get to his body. It took his arm and him under," said friend Matt Baker.
Another friend, Gary Beck, said Langdale popped out of the water shortly after the attack.
"He was waving saying, 'Call the paramedics! My arm is gone!'" Beck described.
"It was scary. I couldn't believe it was real at the moment," Baker added.
Officials with FWC explained that right now is a bad time for swimming because it's alligator mating season and that attacks during this time of year are not uncommon.
"Any type of splash in the water is prey for them," Captain Ardelean said.
Beck and Baker said Langdale was in good spirits.
They said he was just happy the gator got his right arm instead of his left because that is what he uses to steer his airboat.