DEERFIELD BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) – A woman was taken to the hospital after, officials said, an alligator nearly bit her hand off in the Everglades, in Northwest Broward, Friday evening.
Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue officials said the 49-year-old victim, identified as Kimberly Anne Sexton, was bitten on the hand at Willards fish camp, an area only accessible by airboat or helicopter, located in the area of Lox Road near Parkland, about a mile and a half west of the Sawgrass Expressway, near the Palm Beach County line.
Speaking with reporters hours after the incident, Friday night, BSO spokesperson Mike Jachles described what led the large reptile to strike. “This woman apparently dropped a can into the water,” he said. “She was standing on the dock, dropped a can into the water, and as she reached in to retrieve the can, that’s when she was bitten by the alligator.”
Jachles said the Sexton’s hand was nearly severed. “She sustained a severe hand injury that was almost a full amputation of the right hand,” he said.
The people accompanying the Sexton held on to her to prevent her from falling into the water. “That could have very well saved her life,” said Jachles.
They were then able to call 911 on their cellphone and guide in the BSO helicopter, just before 6:30 p.m.
The victim, who was visiting from Central Florida, was airlifted to Broward Health North in critical condition. Officials said she was “semi-conscious” during transport.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials and other investigators gathered at the dock, just north of where the incident occurred, as friends of the victim rushed to the hospital.
Officials said the alligator measured about four to five feet long.
Alligator attacks are rare, and visitors nearby speculated how this could have happened. “You’ve got to agitate them to get them to do something,” said an onlooker.
“I wouldn’t get too close to them,” said a woman. “I like to stay at a nice distance where I could get some pictures and stuff like that. I mean, they’re very fascinating creatures.”
Doctors are currently working to see if Sexton’s hand can be saved.
The alligator that bit her was successfully taken by an authorized alligator trapper.