Glades County, FL (WINK) — An interview recounts the frantic life and death struggle between a Moore Haven teen and an alligator. Kaleb Langdale lost his right arm from the elbow down, but he’s talking from his hospital bed, less than 24 hours after the fight.
The resilient 17-year-old was in good spirits Tuesday, despite being attacked by an 11-foot gator Monday while swimming with friends.
Exhausted after surviving a gator attack, Langdale describes the terrifying chain of events that left him without an arm.
“My friend Abraham (yelled), ‘Gator!’ I’m like, ‘Why you messing with me?’ and I looked and that gator was moving as fast as he can,” Langdale said, adding he was 30 yards away from the bank, swimming in the Caloosahatchee River.
“When the gator was about right here from me, I take my left hand and grab the skin up underneath him, trying to control him and he kept going. I wrapped my legs around him,” Langdale said, and when the gator dove his instincts kicked in.
“I was trying to hold on, so he couldn’t bite me, but he did a death roll and knocked me off. So I took my foot and kicked trying to gain speed to go to the bank,” Langdale said.
That’s when the gator pulled him under the water.
He thought to himself, “I gotta lose this arm or I am going to die.”
Langdale said it is what he learned out here on the water growing up in Moore Haven that saved his life Monday.
“I am glad it went after me and not my friends because I don’t think they would’ve done the same thing and got out of it,” Langdale said.
The teen said he has swam with gators there before, but they’ve never been aggressive as in this case.
“They’ve always keep their distance. I don’t know why this one wanted to charge,” Langdale said.
The high school senior may never know, but he is just glad he lived to tell his story.
“I feel good right now. Happy I am still alive. My friends are OK. I can care less about the arm,” said Langdale.
Despite the attack, the 17-year-old plans to be back out on the water as soon as he gets the go ahead from his doctors.