Gator Bites Captain Hand

Gator Bites Captain Hand

Gator Bites Captain Hand - An airboat captain from Everglades City, Florida, had his left hand ripped off by an alligator while he was apparently feeding the animal on Tuesday.

Witnesses said the victim, identified as 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt who goes by the nickname Captain Wally, was seen feeding a nine-foot alligator fish minutes before the animal bit off his hand.

Incredibly, the severed limb was later retrieved from the reptile's stomach when officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) tracked down and killed the gator.

According to WINK News, the attack happened at around 3:45pm when Weatherholt, an employee of Captain Doug's Everglades Tours, took a group of five people, among them children, for a ride on the water.

Witness Judy Chroniak-Hatt told the TV station WCHS that Weatherholt was hanging a fish over the side of the boat, and the nine-foot alligator jumped up and grabbed it, then went back into the water.

The reptile leaped out of the water again, this time getting its two front feet inside the vessel, according to Chroniak-Hatt, raising concerns that the airboat might tip over, putting the lives of three women, two young children and Weatherholt himself in jeopardy.

According to Chroniak-Hatt, tragedy struck when the airboat captain was patting the water, trying to get the alligator to come up again.

Witnesses said Weatherholt was conscious when he arrived back at the dock following the attack. Weatherholt was then rushed to the Naples Community Hospital, according to FWC spokesperson Carli Segelson.

Wildlife officials had managed to find the alligator, euthanize him and retrieve Weatherholt's hand from his stomach. The severed limb was then brought to the hospital.

Captain Doug’s manager Glenn Smith said in a phone interview with the Daily Mail on Wednesday that doctors were sadly unable to reattach the severed hand. Weatherholt has since been released from the hospital.

Smith declined to comment on reports that the victim was feeding the alligator at the time of the attack.

‘It was just an unfortunate incident,’ he said.

However, on Wednesday, FWC officials told WINK News that Captain Doug's Everglades Tours has a history of tour guides taunting alligators. It is a second-degree misdemeanor to feed the reptiles.

Weatherholt has been cited for a violation of navigational rule. If he is charged in this case, he could face a $500 fine and up to six months in jail.

A cell phone video recorded weeks earlier by an NBC2 producer showed a Captain Doug’s airboat captain taunting an alligator with food, although it was not clear if it was Captain Wally.

This is not the first time a Collier County resident lost a limb to an alligator.

In July of 2010, an alligator bit off the left hand of Tim Delano, then 18 years old, as he was playing in a swimming hole off Alligator Alley near Everglades Boulevard. Delano later was fitted with a hook and a prosthetic hand.

In August of that year, 90-year-old Margaret Webb lost her left leg below the knee after being attacked by an alligator while she stood in the front yard of her Copeland home.

Segelson said that if a person throws food to an alligator, the animal can overcome its weariness of humans and come to associate them with food. alligator bites off captain's hand, alligator airboat captain's hand, feeding alligator illegal florida

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2158749/Alligator-chomps-hand-airboat-captain-seen-taunting-reptile-MARSHMALLOWS-horrified-tourists.html#ixzz1xm5JflR2

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