An alligator was filmed attacking its handler at a children’s birthday party in Utah this week, with video capturing the moment a brave bystander straddled the animal’s back to rescue the woman.
The incident happened at the Scales and Tails reptile centre on Saturday.
The video shows an employee attempting to guide the alligator back into the water tank after it jumped on to the platform.
She raises her hand to the reptile before it suddenly grabs her hand and begins pulling her into the tank.
Donnie Wiseman, whose wife Theresa filmed the moment, jumped straight into the tank to wrestle the handler’s hand away from the alligator’s jaws.
With help from another guest, the handler was freed.
In the video, Wiseman can be seen trying to subdue the alligator. According to a post on the reptile centre’s Facebook page, the handler received medical assistance from another guest, Amy Christopher, who had a nursing background.
Once emergency services arrived, the handler was taken to hospital.
In a post on the reptile centre’s Facebook page yesterday, the handler said: “I got lucky to land in a hospital that employs what has to be the best orthopedic surgeon in Utah. He was able to improvise and come up with a solution that should result in full use of my hand.
“I can’t explain the level of admiration I have for that man. I’m being treated aggressively with antibiotics, which I’m thankful the Infectious Disease staff here were prepared to do. Lastly, I’ve had the most wonderful nursing staff that have made me feel safe and comfortable since I got here.
On Sunday, the reptile centre publicly thanked the Wiseman family for helping to save their employee.
“We want to thank them for their heroism,” they said in a post on Facebook. “Working with some of these animals has inherent risks that we as the staff accept. Yesterday the sort of event that we hope never happens happened. One of our gator handlers got bitten by our large alligator and things took a bad turn.
“These gentlemen could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator. Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs.”
Scales and Tails Utah is a family-run reptile and bird educational and entertainment company.
Elsewhere in the US, Wild Florida, a reptile centre in Kenansville, Florida, announced today that two more albino alligators had been born, after they hatched from their eggs this month.
A group of 18 eggs were produced in April, from which two hatched after several months of incubation, officials at the park told Click Orlando.
The birth, which stems from the albino parents Snowflake and Blizzard, marks the second time in two years that albino alligators have hatched.
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