‘There’s an alligator eating a man!’ Frantic 911 calls from a Florida retirement community where giant reptile bit 85-year-old resident and tried to drag him into pond
- George Ihle Jr, 85, a retired US Marine, was chasing birds off his property at the Cypress Lakes Retirement Community in Lakeland when alligator attacked
- The nearly 10-foot-long reptile bit retiree on his foot and attempted to drag him into a nearby pond, but failed
- George was taken to a hospital, where doctors were able to save his foot
- Wildlife officials who were contacted about the incident had a licensed trapper come in and capture the alligator
- Video shows the creature being yanked out of the water with the victim’s white sneaker still in its jaws; it will be euthanized
A sheriff’s office in Florida has released frantic 911 calls from bystanders reporting an alligator attack at a retirement community that nearly killed an 85-year-old man earlier this week.
George Ihle Jr was bitten on his foot by the nearly 10-foot-long reptile at the Big Cypress Golf and Country Club in Lakeland on Monday.
Ihle’s wife heard the man’s screams and found him on the ground bleeding from a wound on his right foot.
Lucky to be alive: Polk County Sheriff’s deputies are posing with George Ihle Jr, 85, at the hospital after the man survived an alligator attack in Lakeland, Florida, Monday
Snapped up: Trappers in Florida are pictured Monday capturing a nearly 10-foot-long alligator that had attacked Ihle at a retirement community in Lakeland
‘The alligator attacked my husband,’ the woman tells an emergency dispatcher. ‘He’s laying behind a bush bleeding.’
The operator reassures the wife that help is on the way, to which the terrified caller replies, ‘Please hurry.’
Another witness called in telling the disaptcher: ‘There’s a gator eating a man,’ reported ABC News.
A third caller later described the gruesome scene, saying that several people were applying a tourniquet to Ihle’s wound, which she said was bleeding but ‘not gushing.’
Polk County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Brian Bruchey said the gator pounced on the retired US Marine living with his wife at the Cypress Lakes Retirement Community at 10000 US Highway 98 North in Lakeland Monday afternoon.
According to a post on the retirement community’s website, Ihle was attacked by the alligator while chasing birds off his property.
Caught red-handed: This screenshot shows the victim’s white sneaker still in the alligator’s maw at the time of his capture
Ihle was attacked in his backyard while chasing birds off of his property
Landscaper Edward Donnelly was working nearby when he heard the resident’s screams and found the man lying in agony on the ground with his foot looking ‘gruesome,’ as the Good Samaritan told Bay News 9.
He said the victim told him that after locking its jaws on his foot, the alligator attempted to drag him down into the water.
Canadian tourist Scott Pearson and taking a walk with his wife when he witnessed the attacked and also came to Ihle’s rescue, reported WFLA.
Pearson, whose parents live at the retirement village, took off the shirt off his back and used it to stop the bleeding.
WTNH reported that Ihle was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he underwent surgery to save his foot. He is expected to recover.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission then had a licensed trapper come in and remove the nuisance alligator from the pond.
Ihle, a retired US Marine, survived the attack, despite the gator’s efforts to drag him into the pond
The nuisance alligator is seen in this screenshot thrashing in the water of the pond
The large alligator, seen above after its capture by trapper, will likely be euthanized
Video captured the moment the 9-foot-9 beast was yanked out of the water with Ihle’s white sneaker still in its jaws, confirming that it was the right animal.
Once on dry land, the alligator was pinned to the ground, restrained and carted away.
According to wildlife officials cited by ABC Action News, the alligator will likely be euthanized.