US boy fights off alligator with bare hands

US boy fights off alligator with bare hands

US boy fights off alligator with bare hands

Written by Staff Writer

11 Aug, 2014 | 11:52 am

 A nine-year-old boy in the US fought off a nine-foot-long alligator by grabbing its jaws to free himself.

James Barney had gone for a swim in East Lake Tohopekaliga, Florida, when he felt a strong tug, then a sharp pain on his backside. He quickly realised that he was caught by a large alligator.

“I felt its jaw. I felt its teeth,” Barney was quoted by the Orlando Sentinel as saying on Friday, recounting the harrowing encounter with the 500-pound gator.

Barney told the astonishing tale to the media from his hospital bed. The boy said after he realised it was an alligator, he started hitting the animal as hard as he could.

“I was scared. I didn’t know what to do… I had enough strength to pry open its jaws,” James said, adding that he then slipped out of its grip and frantically swam to shore.

“I yelled, ‘Help, help,'” James said. “Some people came over and pulled me in.”

Barney’s friend, who was on the pier when the alligator attacked, quickly called 911 (emergency helpline).

Barney suffered three superficial bites, mostly on his buttocks, and about 30 teeth marks and claw scratches on his back, stomach and legs. He was airlifted to the hospital.

Doctors also found a gator’s tooth stuck in one of the boy’s wounds.

Barney told the medical staff he wanted to keep it as a souvenir to show off.

“It was a pretty big tooth,” Barney said. “I want to put it on a necklace so then I can tell all my friends.”

But the tooth was handed off to officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to help them identify the gator once it is trapped.


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