The Florida alligator hunter survived being bitten by a 12-foot reptile that jumped into his boat and grabbed his arm before his friend opened his jaw with a bar
- Carsten Keiffer was hunting alligators with friends at Lake Jesup in Florida when a 12-foot reptile jumped into the air and grabbed his arm
- A friend managed to stick a staff in the alligator's mouth to free Keiffer's arm
- His injury was reported as a partial amputation, but doctors managed to save Keiffer's arm and restore the feeling on it
- He's been in a hospital for a week and has three operations
A Florida Fire Department paramedic narrowly escaped and lost his arm after being bitten by a giant alligator that jumped into his boat during a hunting trip.
Cartsen Kieffer, a married father of two who serves as a paramedic in the Tavares fire department, was hunting alligators with two friends at Lake Jesup last Thursday evening when one of the reptiles attacked him.
"We saw the big alligator settle in the middle of the canal," Kieffer said to ClickOrlando from his hospital bed.
Florida paramedic Carsten Keiffer is pictured in his hospital bed days after he was bitten by a 12-foot alligator
Keiffer and two friends were hunting alligators at Jasupsee (photo) on August 20 when a 12-foot reptile they had hooked jumped into the air and grabbed his right arm
Keiffer estimated that the alligator was about 12 feet long. He and the other hunters caught the reptile with a snap cord and inserted two additional harpoons into the animal before grabbing more cords to raise it to the surface.
"Since we were so flat, he was unfortunately able to push himself off the ground and throw himself into the boat, and there he got my arm tight," said Keiffer. "When I felt him grab my arm and just feel the pressure and weight from him, it was just unreal."
According to an incident report from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office quoted by WFTV, the alligator clutched Keiffer's right arm and began to spin.
His paramedic friend was able to stick a stick in the predator's mouth to open its jaws to prevent the alligator from ripping off Keiffer's arm or even pulling him underwater.
Keiffer was then able to pull his arm out of the alligator's throat, whereupon his friends cut the snap lines and let go of the animal.
One of the hunters used his belt as a tourniquet to stop Keiffer's bleeding and then called 911 to report the alligator attack. He described his fellow hunter's injury as a partial amputation in the middle of his forearm.
But the doctors managed to save Keiffer's arm, and he has since regained the feeling in his fingers.
Keiffer, a paramedic during the day who is also an avid hunter, has been harvesting alligators for years (pictured with one of his trophies next to his son)
Keiffer said if it hadn't been for his friends' actions, he likely would have died. He has no plans to resume alligator hunting
According to a Facebook update posted earlier this week, Keiffer had surgery three times in the past week to do bone and skin grafts and to repair damage to his arm.
The father of two praised the actions of his friends and, if it had not been for them, wrote, "I would not have been here today."
WESH reported that the Florida Wildlife Commission has hired a trapper to catch the alligator, which remains at large.
Keiffer, an avid hunter and fisherman, told ClickOrlando he was probably done harvesting alligators.
“Even if I wanted to, I don't think my wife would allow it. So you know I'm a smart husband, so I know when to choose my battles, and that's probably not one to take "he quipped.
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