An alligator attacked a cyclist who had lost control and fell into a stream in a Florida park on Monday, officials said. The man was seriously injured but managed to escape with the help of passers-by.
The attack occurred at Halpatiokee Regional Park in Stuart, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. Halpatiokee is a Seminole Indian word that means “alligator water,” according to the county’s website.
The man, later identified as Robert Bassett of Palm City, was riding a bike when he lost control and fell from an embankment into the water, officials said. The 9-foot female alligator grabbed the man, but he was finally able to free himself with the help of passers-by.
CBS affiliate WPEC-TV reports that Charles Shannon was walking the trail with his dog when he came across Bassett fighting for his life.
“He [Bassett] said, “Help me get out of the water,” said Charles Shannon of Palm City. “It was quite far, so I was able to get off with the help of this young man holding me. I was able to pull him out of the water. “
Shannon said he grabbed his dog’s leash and tied it around the victim’s leg to help stop the bleeding.
The FWC said Bassett suffered injuries to his right rear thigh and right torso.
“There was another lady there, a nurse from Germany, she was extremely helpful,” Shannon said.
Scott Lorraine of the Treasure Coast Airborne Mountain Bike Club told WPEC-TV he arrived moments after the attack and immediately recognized Bassett.
“He said ‘I’m dead’ because the thing grabbed him just by the leg. You can see how big the alligator is,” Lorraine said.
Rescuers secured the area and drove the man over a mile to meet a medical helicopter, the sheriff’s office said.
Man seriously injured after being bitten by an alligator at Halpatiokee Park in Stuart. The victim fell from his bicycle and said he was assaulted. First responders are now on the scene. pic.twitter.com/41d07hpZIT
– MartinCountySheriff (@MartinFLSheriff) July 19, 2021
A professional trapper was called in to capture the alligator.
State wildlife officers were investigating the attack.