EVERGLADES CITY (CBSMiami) – A Southwest Florida airboat captain has lost his hand to an alligator, despite great efforts to retrieve the bitten hand from the belly of the gator.
According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokeswoman Carli Segelson, the airboat captain was attacked Tuesday afternoon in Everglades City in Collier County.
Segelson told the Naples Daily News that wildlife officials tracked the alligator after it bit off the captain’s hand.
When they found it, they euthanized the animal, retrieved the hand from its stomach, and brought it to the Naples hospital where doctors hoped to reattach it.
WINK News, the CBS affiliate in Southwest Florida, reported six tourists were aboard the Captain Doug’s Airboat Tour when the attack took place.
While FWC officials haven’t said how it happened, witnesses told WINK News they saw the captain feeding an alligator minutes before the attack.
Witnesses and other airboat captains identified the man who lost his hand as Captain Wally.
After the attack, Captain Wally actually drove himself back to Captain Doug’s airboat docks.
It’s not known yet whether doctors were able to successfully reattach his hand.