Newsweek – A Florida hunter has recalled the moment a large alligator leapt out of the water and almost claimed his arm, in what he thinks was an attempt to defend itself.
Carsten Kieffer, a firefighter, was hunting alligators with friends at Lake Jesup in Florida in August 2020 when the incident occurred.
Spotting one, Kieffer and his companions managed to hook onto an alligator in order to catch it.
However, the father-of-two said the animal managed to “launch off the bottom of the creek” and into the boat he was using.
Kieffer told Newsweek: “I think he was just trying to defend himself. We had wounded him, and it was just his reflex.”
The alligator got its teeth caught on the boat’s railing, meaning the animal was not able to pull itself entirely out of the water. However, it managed to keep its hold on Kieffer’s arm.
He said: “At that point, everything kind of happened fast, and we heard the skin rip and then the bones crush.”
The firefighter said one of his friends managed to get a hold of him and stuck a metal rod in the alligator’s mouth in an attempt to pry it off of Kieffer’s arm. Then, once Kieffer’s arm had gone limp, the alligator let go.
Kieffer said his mind quickly went to his career, as well as his future with his children aged 11 and 6. “The biggest thing I was thinking about was just praying the alligator would let go without doing too much damage, and then I realized that my life as I knew it was probably over.
“Everyday I wake up and I’m excited about going to work. I’ve been doing this for 11 years now and that was my biggest thing, thinking: ‘What am I going to do now?’
“Then all the little things that you’re supposed to do with your kids, now all of a sudden there are things you can’t do one-handed.”