Makes me glad I don't train in FLA.......
Officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission today said they have not captured the alligator that clamped its jaw on a Kissimmee swimmer Sunday.
Joy Hill of the Wildlife Commission said the two baited hooks set in the area of the attack last night did not trap any alligators. Officials removed the traps this morning.
Hill said the trappers will return tonight and reset the baits.
Doug McCard, the 35-year-old man attacked by the gator, described on Sunday the moment the reptile bit him across his torso as he swam in an east Orange County lake.
"It was a real hard hit, and I felt the teeth," the triathlete-in-training told reporters during a news conference at Orlando Regional Medical Center. "I started thinking to myself, 'This is a gator. I can't believe a gator is biting me.' "
His next thought focused on survival. McCard stood up in the waist-deep water at Moss Park and started swinging.
"I got a pretty good elbow to his head, and he released me. ... I started yelling maybe to try to scare him away and backed off until I could run, and then I ran out of the water."
McCard, a sales associate at A-1 Septic in Kissimmee, suffered five puncture wounds to his right shoulder, another to his hipbone and several more on his back. Doctors wanted to keep him in the hospital overnight to ensure against infection.
The Florida native who swims in lakes throughout the area considers himself fortunate to have survived the attack in Lake Mary Jane.
"Anytime you tangle with that big of a gator, you are very lucky to come out alive," he said.
McCard said he thinks he startled the reptile — he estimated it at 8 feet to 10 feet long — and that it reacted by chomping him.
"If it was after me, it would have probably taken me under and rolled because that's what gators do," he said.
A trapper was working to catch the gator Sunday night, according to Joy Hill, a spokeswoman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
She described McCard as an "alligator-aware" person in the wrong place at the wrong time. She said what happened is rare.
"He's swam in that lake thousands of times and has never had an encounter with an alligator," Hill said. "It was just unfortunate bad timing for the alligator and the swimmer."
McCard was training for an Ironman competition this summer and triathlon in October. He swims in the lake every weekend, he said.
He hopes to continue his training soon. He said he won't hesitate getting back into the water, but it may be a bit longer before he returns to Lake Mary Jane.
Moss Park's swimming area was closed Sunday afternoon, but boaters and water-scooter users were still enjoying the water.
Will Cadiz, who was at the park with his family on water scooters, said the youngsters had looked forward to swimming.
But after they heard of the gator attack, the whole group felt a bit nervous.
"No swimming," he said. "They've got the swimming closed."
Fish and Wildlife officials say an island to one side of the park's swimming area is home to roosting birds and, often, gators.
The trapper was searching for the likely gator based on size and behavior. Even so, it's difficult to tell whether a particular gator was involved in the attack.
"You're not ever going to be 100 percent sure," Hill said.
That's what he gets for training.
What DON'T you say to a gator while swimming?
"Please, please Kissimmee."
That doesn't sound quite as painful as some of the workouts I see IM-trainees doing :).
I'm glad the worst we have around here are inquisitive foxes and somewhat aggressive Canadian geese. Getting hissed at and stared down by a mother goose isn't nearly as bad as getting chomped on by a gator, is it?