A 9-foot alligator bit off the toes of a homeless man who was taking a bath in a retention pond in Florida, police said.
The alligator bit Frederic Iman, 68, several times at 10:20 a.m. on Monday, July 24 while the man was washing himself in Port Charlotte, according to a statement from the county’s fire department.
Iman walked to the nearby Charlotte Surgical Center. An employee there called 911, telling the dispatcher, “It looks like his pants are torn,” WINK-TV reported.
“It ate his toes off,” the caller said.
“It ate his toes off?” the emergency operator asked in disbelief.
The homeless man was airlifted to Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers. His injuries are serious, but not life threatening, authorities said.
The alligator chomped on his left foot, leg, and groin area.
Area residents saw the giant reptile before in the storm water treatment basin, but it had never attacked anyone. One of those residents, Ron Theisen, said that a warning sign should be put up to make residents aware of the gator’s presence.
“I know that they’re in there,” Theisen said. “I look for them. When I first walked up here, I made sure I looked around to be on the safe side because it only takes one mistake and you’re in a world of hurt.”
The animal was captured and will be killed.
Monday’s incident is the latest in a series of alligator attacks in Florida.
On July 17, 34-year-old Russell Mendelsohn was bitten by a 6-foot alligator at DeSoto Veterans Memorial Park.
On July 9, 71-year-old Gene E. Witzel was bitten by a 10-foot alligator in Fort Myers. That alligator will be captured and killed.
On July 7, 51-year-old Mark Lahodik was bitten on the arm. Lahodik asked if he could keep the alligator’s head when he woke up at the hospital. The trapper said that he will donate the head to the family. It will first go to a taxidermist for preservation and it will be delivered to the family in August.
In early July a 10-year old boy was bitten in Peace River in Arcadia.