Teen uses 'Swamp Men' move to save self from alligator
Trappers pull an alligator from the water after a Florida teen lost an arm to a gator in an attack Monday.
July 10th, 2012
09:15 AM ET

Teen uses 'Swamp Men' move to save self from alligator

A Florida teenager lost part of his arm in an alligator attack on Monday, but the boy's family says the outcome could have been worse if the 17-year-old hadn't been a fan of the National Geographic show "Swamp Men."

Kaleb "Fred" Langdale was swimming with friends in in the Caloosahatchee River in Moore Haven in southwest Florida when an 11-foot alligator attacked, according to a report from CNN affliate WINK-TV.

"As soon as he'd seen Fred, the gator was coming after him. On top of the water, as fast as he could pedal, his tail was wagging back and forth, he was coming," Langdale's friend Gary Beck told WINK.

That's when the teen's TV gator knowledge kicked in, his sister, Rebecca Langdale, said in an interview with the Fort Myers News Press.

Rebecca, who visited her brother in the hospital, said he told her that as the alligator approached him he grabbed the skin under the animal's mouth to try to prevent it from biting him.

After preventing the initial attack, Fred tried to swim away from the gator, Rebecca Langdale said.

"When he turned to swim, it grabbed his arm," she said. "And he knew once it grabbed his arm, he was going to lose it."

"So he put both his feet on the alligator's head and pushed and pretty much took his own arm off before the alligator could," Rebecca said.

Langdale's aunt, LaDawn Hayes, said Fred learned the move from watching "Swamp Men," according to the News-Press.

"He knows if he offers (the gator) his arm, he won't take his torso. He was smart, he took the risk," another of Fred's friends, Matthew Baker, told WINK.

Beck told CNN affiliate WBBH that after freeing himself from the gator, Langdale called for help.

"He was waving saying, 'Call the paramedics! My arm is gone!'" WBBH quoted Beck as saying.

The gator was later caught and killed by trappers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The boy's arm was recovered, according to reports, but the doctors were unable to reattach it.

Glades County Sheriff Stuart Whiddon told WINK that gator attacks are rare in the area, but fish and wildlife officials said this is an active time of year for the reptiles.

"It's just after mating season, eggs are already laid, but the gators are still very active," WINK quoted Jeff Ardelean as saying. "Any type of commotion on the water is potential food in their eyes."

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Filed under: Alligators • Animals • Florida
soundoff (505 Responses)
  1. geelolickers

    Glad they killed the gator. (Oh noes! I said it!)

    July 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. zzzzzz

    Poor gator. It was just hungry or protecting eggs/partner/babies....The innocent loses again...
    Glad the kid is fine, but I hope he'll take this as a lesson and raise awareness to all other 'potentially unwise people' to NOT swim in Florida lakes.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wildone

    Fred will have a story to tell that will make his grand babies hair stand on end!

    July 10, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • wildone

      ....and a valise, watchband and wallet to prove it.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Joe Smith

    He "offered" his arm to the gator, because according to swamp man on TV the gator would then leave his torso alone? You gotta be kidding. Nice of CNN to propagate that myth instead of properly investigating and debunking it.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Audi V

      the swamp men have never said that you should give up an arm to save a life. The teen used the under the chin grab to fend off the Attack as the swamp men say and do in season 3. The teen turned to get away and was grabbed. He chose the loss of the arm to his life and i agree it was a fair trade.

      July 10, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      This story sounds manufactured to make readers feel good. The only truthful part of the article is that a boy lost is arm when attacked by an alligator.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stee

      Did it not work?

      July 11, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. AngryWorm

    "Rippy the 'Gator went Chomp, chomp, chomp !!

    July 10, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. wildone

    If you play where the gators play, prepare to be their dinner.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. LeeLee

    You know it really surprises me to this day that we have such hate in the world. We are related to "Fred". I guess everyone has their own opinion. We as a the real Floridians and not transplants are fully aware of the gators that are in our canals, ditches and river. I am scared to death to swim in the area, but I also feel the same about the ocean. We may speak a little different and hold our hearts a little deeper, but that does not mean that we are any different than the people all over the world. Our community actually takes care of each other and stick together when times are good and bad. Our children have swam in that river for years and now they are parents and even after what happened yesterday, I bet my grandchildren will one day swim there, spending time with friends and family, like we do. I make no excuses for what happen other than it was "Fred's" day to deal with this situation and I think he did a great job. But with making negative comments about Fred or the Gator is no different than the bullying of a kid at school and then they go home and shoot themselves. Maybe the gator did not need to be shot, but the arm did need to be found. I can make only one thing clear, I know that anyone making the negative comments would not dare say it to our faces, cause only cowards can post ugly things about traggic situations. I only hope that you never have anything in your lives that need some comforting from the people in the world. Fred is a very wonderful boy and probably has more heart in his arm he lost than most of you have in your entire body. So please look deep down inside and push away all the childish and negative comments and find a way to look beyond your personal gains or selfishness and pray for this boy that he remains positive and brave though this horrible situation. Fred you are loved, Fred you are brave, Fred we love you and yes Fred you are a hero to keep the gator busy while your friends could get to shore.

    July 10, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • frackle

      You have to be the stupidest moron to post today! This 17 year old man is nothing but a LOSER , and yes I would say this to his face. He is NO hero.

      July 10, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • forthefew

      Hey frackle kinda funny u try to be tough guy you'd get eatin up by an iguna lord knows what a gator would do with your juicy fat torso

      July 10, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Louisianian

      Well said and shame on people who made these negative and unnecessary comments. I bet most of them live in the concrete jungle and have no point of reference here.

      July 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shut Up

      Shut up

      July 10, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mickey1313

      You are wrong about not saying it to ones face. The kid is a dolt. The arm was lost, no need to kill the resident, the gator. When you tromp in a predarors teritory, you deserve what you get.

      July 11, 2012 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
    • crabman

      hey frack from what i can tell the next hero will be the one who punches you ticket - just sayn

      July 11, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Sheri

      Wow. Very well said! Kudos!

      July 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. forthefew

    Its all about swap people

    July 10, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. redone

    There's an even better defence. Stay out of the water in gator territory.

    July 10, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Piers Morgan, Supervillain

    Well he should feel very lucky that he got a discount. It only cost him an arm, unlike most things today that cost an arm and a leg. Waka waka waka.

    July 10, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. spoddney

    Americans are total pansies.

    I live in Australia and people get chomped all the time my crocs and great whites – we go and it's no big deal.

    In the US when somebody gets chomped by a gator or a shark the whole country has a spaz attack.

    July 10, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • unperro

      Yeah we know your country is full of terrifying animals that can and will kill you. That doesn't make you a brave man just because you live there.
      Also, the whole country didn't go into spaz, it's just that news media need something to latch onto and report to justify their existence. We don't think it's that big a deal either.

      July 10, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2+2=5

      Yeah, relax, ever hear of a slow news day? lol.

      July 11, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Stee

      Australians get chomped all the time because they are drunk and stupid.

      July 11, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • cee

      Your comment is just plain silly. I have seen shark attacks in Australia on TV and it doesn't look like you guys take it all that lightly.

      July 11, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • KNERD

      You got it backwards Asstrailian.

      American are so bad ass, this RARELY happens.

      July 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bob

    The kid was no hero, he didn't save anyone's life nor do good for the world. He was stupid swimming in a lake in which aligators do live in. In fact, his parents are stupid for not telling the kid to stay awake from lakes and swim in pools or where a lifeguard is on duty who would be on aligator lookout.

    CNN, trying to paint a picture that this kid learned something from a show that says to not do what they do at the beginning of the show. Those guys on t.v. risk there lives daily when hunting and have more experience with gator's. I'm sure people will go try to hunt the gator down to kill it but will just kill a bunch of gators who had no part in taking the kids arm. Good riddings to the stupid kid who risked his own life swimming in a gator infested lake.

    July 10, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • 2+2=5

      You mean riddance? Seriously not understanding why so many people are so upset over a simple article on a slow news day. Give it a rest, ok, ok, we get it, your "special" ok? Now can this armless kid enjoy his two minutes of fame? Haha

      July 11, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
    • KNERD

      Not to mention all he had to do was grab the gators snout and hold it shut so it could do nothing to him at all.

      July 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. travabo

    don't understand why the gator had to be killed. it was doing what gators do. i'm sorry the boy lost his arm, but that's the risk you take swimming in those waters. now if the gator was in the boys house, well, that would be different. but the boy was in the gators house, and he shouldn't have to be killed for being a gator.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  14. bygollyollie

    how many times does it have to be said that the alligator had to be put down cuz once it "tastes" humans, it will seek humans to devour? it's like every other comment has to mention this lil tid-bit! like no one saw that 2 comments back THEY JUST SAID IT!!!somebody needs to say it again! oh wait! I JUST DID!!

    July 11, 2012 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  15. Stu

    Poor gator. Killed for trying to feed himself.

    July 11, 2012 at 2:34 am | Report abuse |
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