A woman trying to get a soda can she had dropped into the water in the Everglades had her hand nearly bitten off by an alligator, authorities said.
Kimberly Ann Sexton, 49, was trying to retrieve a Mountain Dew can she dropped on Friday when the animal attacked her hand, according to a report released by the Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission.
Sexton was bitten by a 6.5 ft alligator, the report said. The animal was found by a trapper and euthanized after the incident.
Two witnesses grabbed Sexton by her legs and kept her from being pulled into the water, the report said. They also managed to free her hand from the gator’s jaws.
A fire rescue helicopter was dispatched just before 6.30pm to a fish camp in the Everglades near Fort Lauderdale. Sexton, who lives in St Cloud, in central Florida, was staying there with family.
Mike Jachles, the spokesman for Broward sheriff fire rescue, said flight medics found her with her right hand “almost fully amputated” and losing consciousness.
She was flown to Broward Health North trauma center, where she was in critical condition.
A spokeswoman for the medical center said the woman was listed in stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit.
Tammy Sapp, a spokeswoman for the commission, said that alligator bite incidents were rare in Florida but that the wildlife commission worked to keep visitors to the Everglades safe and to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property.
“We’re saddened by this incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim and her family,” Sapp said.
“Her right hand was almost totally amputated,” Mike Jachles, spokesman for the Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue said.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is investigating.