A 9-foot-long alligator attacked man at a Florida park after he fell into the water while riding a bike, authorities said.
The attack at Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart at about 11 a.m. Monday left the bicyclist, whose name wasn’t immediately released, with “serious injuries,” according to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office.
The female alligator bit the man after he lost control of his bike and fell about six feet down an embankment into a body of water. He was able to break free from the beast before crawling away and being helped by a bystander, authorities said.
Video released by the agency shows the man on a stretcher being led to a helicopter waiting to take him to a hospital.
Other photos showed a bloodied walkway and the large reptile being corralled by a trapper who responded to the scene — where two gators were later pulled from the water and had their mouths taped shut.
The man’s condition was not immediately released, but witnesses told reporters the victim had several wounds to his leg.
“He had a lot of marks all over his leg, but mainly in the upper thigh,” witness Charlie Shannon told WPTV.
Shannon was walking his dog in the park when he walked up to the bicyclist as he was in the water.
“He was hanging on roots like five feet below,” Shannon told the station. “It was hard to get him out.”
A quick-thinking Shannon used his dog’s leash as a tourniquet to slow the man’s bleeding before he and others pulled him to safety, WPTV reported.
Another witness said the victim was an avid bike rider who lost control as he rounded a curve and landed right next to the female gator.
“But he slid out and the water is literally a couple of feet away and he went right into the water, and just as bad luck would be, the gator was right there,” witness Scott Lorraine told WPTV.
Trapper John Davidson said the man did not lose any body parts, ABC News reported.
The alligator, weighing an estimated 170 pounds, may have had a nest nearby that prompted it to stay close to the area, TCPalm.com reported.
Davidson plans to go back to the park Tuesday to search for the alligator’s eggs to safely relocate them. The animal was being relocated Monday to a farm near Fort Drum, the outlet reported.
“You got to be careful when you’re around the water, especially this team of year,” the 10-year trapping vet said. “The females are sitting on nests and are particularly aggressive.”
Twelve people were bitten by alligators in Florida last year, down from five attacks in 2019. None of the 2020 incidents were fatal, according to data compiled by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Davidson told TCPalm.com roughly two to three attacks occur annually throughout the state. The name of the 65-acre park where the man was attacked means “alligator water” among Seminole Indians, the Miami Herald reported.