Firefighter survives after being bitten by alligator

Firefighter Juan Carlos la Verde survived an attack by an alligator over 3 meters long in early August. The animal attacked the man’s head, which had serious injuries. This week, he shared his story in an interview with the US TV channel WFLA, with a video made by a drone that shows the predator’s action.

La Verde, who works in Tampa, Florida, was swimming in Lake Thonotossa while recording an instructional video for his outdoor adventure company, DefeatX, when he noticed the alligator swimming towards him.

The swimming practice was for an event that La Verde would organize. The firefighter had his head and part of his torso snapped by the reptile. La Verde and the animal rolled in the water, he reported, making a 360-degree turn before the alligator released it.

“I felt the equivalent of a telephone pole falling and hitting my face. I felt scales, I felt teeth, so I knew what I was in. God gave me the strength and the ability to instantly grab the top and bottom of his jaw,” he recalled. the fireman.

Images of the moment of the attack were shared by a drone commanded by a partner of La Verde.

To the TV channel, he also reported that he felt “his jaw crack” and continued swimming after getting rid of the animal. When he was safe, the adrenaline wore off and the “unbearable” pain began.

To Inside Edition, he admitted: “After I got rid of it, I tried to keep swimming to the docks. It’s very challenging to do that when your brain has been bitten and your jaw has been torn to pieces.” Amazingly, La Verde has nothing bad to say about alligators. “I don’t know if you’ve ever touched one of them, but they are beautiful creatures.”

La Verde is a member of the Oldsmar Fire Department and a veteran of the US Air Force. After the attack, he was taken to hospital, where he stayed for 10 days.

Surgeries and recovery

He underwent face and jaw reconstruction surgery and a craniotomy. Part of his right temporal lobe needed to be removed, due to a puncture and a fractured bone.

laverde - Playback/ TV WFLA - Playback/ TV WFLA

Juan Carlos la Verde survived an attack by an alligator over 3 meters long

Image: Playback / WFLA TV

Although he needs several more surgeries on his long road to recovery, La Verde is still optimistic about his future and assures him that he will continue with his adventures.

“The story is about a miracle. Find joy, whatever it is for you, that’s my challenge for you to find it,” he said.

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