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. Ridgeway

    So sad to see the great deal of ignorance, hatred and ugliness that some people display for all the world to see.

    Most folks in this area learned to swim in that river. An attack like that is rare, but it happens.

    Once again, the human race has proven that it is much easier to be critical than correct (educated and informed).

    July 11, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joe

    Lesson 1. When in gator country stay out of the swamp water and find a swimming pool. Those who pass that lesson don't need the following how to fight a gator at the risk of life and limb lessons.

    July 11, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Darrell

    ` I will pray for your full recovery!

    July 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • jim

      Your going to pray, huh? How about you write a letter to Santa Claus while you are at it.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      If god exists, he's already cursed this boy. If he wanted this boy to be OK and live a normal, happy life he wouldn't have sent the gator. Your god is cruel and merciless.

      July 13, 2012 at 3:17 am | Report abuse |
  4. jim

    Rational, logical thinking saved this young man, not an invisible cloud-being.

    July 12, 2012 at 4:49 am | Report abuse |
    • oblix

      Jim, would this be the same "rational, logical thinking" that would allow someone to think that swimming in alligator infested waters was a good idea as well?

      July 12, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      The token Athiest having to make a comment whenever someone references prayer!

      July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      Jim, Jim, Jim, Jim.....i know you're bitter, but just let it go. I cannot prove to you that God exists, but you cannot prove to me that he doesn't. So let it go.....

      July 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Guest

      How's the view from up on your high horse?

      July 12, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jshanksmith

      Why are you all attacking Jim for reminding everyone where credit is due? Prayers? Save those 'prayers' for the millions of babies dying around the globe – while u pray for some trivial BS matter – or better yet REALIZE THAT DOING THINGS IS WHAT HELPS, not praying to nothing to have "him" do it for you.

      July 13, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      @Jeremy, while no one can prove that God does or does not exist, (though most rational people believe it to be very unlikely), but there is plenty of evidence that the religious texts that describe him are false.

      July 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul Wilson

    Time to cull the alligators and crocodiles. They are killing & eating machines, and endanger any livestock and humans in the area. Shooting a croc a day with dynamite bullets,

    July 12, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
    • logical

      Applying your backward thinking logic, we should just kill everything on this planet...what gets me is people like you are allowed to breed and influence others...here is a clue if you know gators are in a certain area dont go there...problem solved...plenty of land to farm leaving you thousands of miles from gators and crocs...WAKE UP we share this planet we dont own it...

      July 13, 2012 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Angie Young

    I was in the same Lake last year! Very shallow and we seen manatee's, dolphins and basicallly,, the water was only about 4-6 feet deep. I know better than get in this dangerous water! Just common sense. Allligators are EVERYWHERE in FLORIDA! BE EXTRA CAREFUL!

    July 12, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. livesinFL

    I'm sorry isn't that there home??? It thought he was food.

    July 12, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  8. FurReal

    Sorry to hear dude. Im not from Florida, but even I know not to swim in the water.
    Ouch!

    July 12, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. child of midian

    Why get in the water to begin with? How can you live there and not know never to swim in an area like that? It's like getting drunk, driving then saying you used your quick-wits to only loose a limb in the crash!

    July 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dale

    Hey hillbillies, here's an idea - don't swim in gator-infested waters. Word is it's safer.

    July 12, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      I take it your Mom was a hillbilly? or knew one since you seem to know the background of this kid swimming, I myself have never heard of a normal kid going swimming so you must be on to something.

      July 12, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jenjo

    So did they recover the boys arm from alligator mouth and re-attach or not?

    July 12, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenjo

      Just re-read and saw the unable to attach..

      July 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Allen

    Jeremy, I can prove to you that god does not exist, but I would have to kill you to do so. As I am a pacifist,I guess you are stuck living with your silly beliefs.

    July 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Mark

    He should of tried to tickle its belly, and it would of fell asleep.

    July 13, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Jshanksmith

    I am a Floridian . Gators are everywhere! When you swim in fresh water you know it is a risk, period! The kid seems to be very rational about this whole thing, it sounds like he knew the risk and accepted it... That's not "irrational" just ballsy... 10s of thousands swim in freshwater in FLA. every year and don't get attacked but there is always a chance.

    July 13, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  15. Lol@You

    Alligator says: "Nom Nom Nom, yummy!"

    July 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
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