A Florida man was rushed to hospital on Saturday after a morning of hog hunting with his wife ended with an alligator bite to the leg.
According to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office, the man was attacked in a wildlife area along the border of Martin and Palm Beach counties. Police reported the man sustained a substantial injury to his leg and needed immediate assistance.
In video footage shared by the sheriff’s office, Martin County Fire Rescue’s emergency responders can be seen locating the man in a dense marsh area. He was transported to St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, the Sun Sentinel reports.
Police report that a witness said the alligator was around 10 feet long.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) identified the man as 46-year-old James Boyce, CBS12 reports.
A statement released by the FWC confirmed that Boyce was hog hunting with his wife at the time.
“Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida,” a spokesperson for the organization said in a statement. “Alligators are a conservation success story … They help keep aquatic animal populations in balance and keep water holes open for other fish and wildlife.”
The man’s rescue required help from onlookers before he was located in the marsh. According to Newsweek, witness Danny McClelland said Boyce was “bleeding profusely” and that he used zip ties on the man’s injury as a tourniquet.
Another witness, Tyler Schwalm, shared images of his vehicle and a video of the airlift procedure on social media.
“Probably only good time I’ll ever have law enforcement on my buggy lol,” he wrote.
A local animal trapper, Mike Kimmel, told CBS12 the alligator likely bit Boyce out of self-defence after being disturbed or accidentally stepped on.
Boyce was hunting on land partly operated by the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area.
The organization shared the sheriff department’s rescue video, adding: “Great job to those that helped get the injured man out. Some hero’s don’t wear capes … they wear orange!”
The Tampa Bay Times reported last year that alligator attacks are on the rise in the southern U.S. state.
The news outlet cited an Inside Science study that says gator attacks “have been on the rise, increasing from an average of just one every three years between 1988 and 1999 to about seven per year between 2000 and 2016.”
The man’s wife, Terisa Boyce, told the Sun Sentinel that her husband was in stable condition on Sunday night.
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