MOORE HAVEN, Fla. — A Moore Haven, Florida teen lost his right arm from the elbow down in an alligator attack Monday.
The gator attacked while 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale was swimming with friends in the Caloosahatchee River.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Jorge Pino said the 11-foot gator was found and killed Monday evening after the attack.
Officials said 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,” FWC Captain Jeff Ardelean said.
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 said 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,” friend Matt Baker said.
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 said.
“It was scary. I couldn’t believe it was real at the moment,” Baker said.
Officials with FWC explained this 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,” Capt. 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.