Watch CBS News

Man attacked by 9-foot alligator while fishing in Florida

Florida man bitten by American crocodile
Florida man bitten by American crocodile in Everglades 01:58

A massive 9-foot alligator attacked a man in central Florida on Sunday as he was fishing causing him to be airlifted to a hospital with a severe bite, officials said. 

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was "rolling around with the gator," a woman said on a 911 call released by Lake County. She said she could hear the man moaning and groaning after the attack, which happened around 4:25 p.m. 

"He took his hand off," another 911 caller said.

The man suffered a "severe animal bite," said a Lake County Fire Rescue spokesperson. The victim was airlifted to a trauma center in Orlando for treatment, a Lake County Fire Rescue spokesperson said but did not release further details about the victim's injuries.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the man's hand and wrist were injured. An officer from the commission along with a nuisance alligator trapper responded to the scene and removed the male alligator that was involved in the incident.

The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program "uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property," according to the agency.

Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission advises people to keep a safe distance away if they spot an alligator. The agency also advises people to swim only in designated swimming areas and only during daylight hours. 

Alligators range in size from 6 - 14 feet long. Gators rarely bite people and fatalities are rare, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said. From 1948 to 2022, there were 453 unprovoked bite incidents in Florida, resulting in 26 human fatalities. 

"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.

The alligator attack in Lake County came on the same day as an apparent crocodile attack in southern Florida after a 68-year-old man capsized his sailboat during the incident in Flamingo Marina. He was treated for an injury to his leg.

"Right now I feel good because I'm alive," the crocodile attack victim said after the attack, CBS Miami reported.

Gators and crocodiles both belong to a group of reptiles called crocodilians, according to the National Park Service. Both species can be found in south Florida - the only place where the two species coexist - although alligators are more common than crocodiles. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.