Make your home page

Gator captured after attacking, biting off swimmer’s arm

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – A woman is recovering after being attacked by an alligator that bit off her arm while she swam in central Florida.

Rachael D. Lilienthal, 37, was swimming in Wekiva River on Saturday afternoon when the gator attacked her, biting her twice, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission spokeswoman Karen Parker. The 8-foot, 9-inch male gator bit off her arm just above the elbow.

Parker said doctors were not able to reattach the arm because too much time had passed.

Kayakers helped rescue the woman. One of the kayakers struck the alligator with a paddle, causing the animal to release Lilienthal. Two kayakers brought her to the marina where deputies gave her first aid. She was taken to an Orlando-area hospital. Her condition is not known.

“I can understand why people are worried. To go out swimming and have something bite you that is like a nightmare scenario,” said Parker.

Wildlife officers captured the 300- to 350-pound gator hours later, shortly after midnight Sunday and euthanized it.