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. Bill

    These kids swimming in what they should know is aligator territory, are dumb as the ol' box of rocks! Inbred Florida stupidity! Nothing to be done; they won't lisrten...just ask their kin!

    July 10, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Do you ever get in a car? Have you seen the statistics? And you still do it? You must be inbred since it is far more dangerous than swimming in Florida.....
      Florida has real problems. Gators aren't one of them.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Brittni

      Where are you from ? Because Floridians are ALOT smarter than you are

      July 10, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
    • jason83

      ^Bill: Think back to when you were 17 years old. I'm sure you did a lot of foolish things too at that age. We all did. Only difference is we weren't in an alligator pond while doing those things. That said, that 17 year old is probably a senior in high school. Yes, it was wrong to be swiming in an alligator pond, but the kid has his whole life ahead of him and to be this close to beginning your life and lose you arm to a gator, I feel terrible for this kid. I read the article quick because I'm at work, but I hope they can either get the arm out of the gator and operate or give the kid a prostethic. Show some class, man. It's people like you with those kind of comments that continuosly bring this country down. I don't care what age the victim was. Maybe you should lose your arm to a gator, than I guarantee you won't be on here making those unintelligent comments.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
    • brittnis english teacher

      Obvioulsy not too smart Brittni........ "A lot" of people would agree with that, you are the most recent example. FAIL....

      July 10, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Julian

      @MarkinFL - that's not how statistics work. A drive in a car is NOT more dangerous than swimming in an alligator pool around mating season. Over a lifetime of driving a car is dangerous, but the chance per drive that you will get hurt isn't high. Also, you can't compare voluntary risks versus necessary risks. You don't have to go swimming with alligators, but practically most driving is necessary. And even when driving is voluntary, it is countered by the risks of alternate transportation. With that being said, I'm not sure this particular case was outright stupid - people need to have fun and most of the time it might be worth the risk to swim there (or with sharks, or hike where there are cougars, etc.).

      July 10, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      Wow.....get an education!

      July 10, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • stateschool

      Let me guess: you're a city boy, right? So, when children are killed every day across the country by urban thugs, do you respond by saying that their parents should have known better than to live in a place they know to be infested by gangs?

      July 10, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Julian,
      He was not swimming in a "gator pond", he was in a river. As you noted, like hiking in the woods, there is some risk. However, a gator attack swimming in an open river is VERY rare. The odds of being attacked in that situation are probably much lower than getting in an accident in a car. And yes people spend many unnecessary hours in cars. For good reasons, but totally by choice (going to movies, to the mall, again, to the store for a snack or beer run, etc. etc.).
      Also, many or most gator fatalities are the result of poor judgement or a gator that has been fed by people. Don't swim where it says not to, do not swim between dusk and dawn. Don't leave a small child near the bank during those times either. Just following those few admonitions would have save most of the fatalities in the past few decades.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Slowgun

    Mitt Romney's response to this story:

    "I feel very sorry for the boy, no wait, I feel very sorry for the alligator, no wait, I feel very sorry for the boy's family, no wait, I feel very sorry for the alligator's family"

    "I"m not sure who a feel sorry for, but I stand by the fact that I feel sorry for them"

    July 10, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      There is always at least 1 jackazzz that has to turn a story, even one about an alligator, into a political one. Good job....D-bag.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • BoFo

      Your reply only shows how shallow you are.
      This is not a laughing matter at all. But it does underscore that when humans enter the domain of wildlife, be they alligators, sharks or bears, they can fully expect things to happen.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      Hey, don't call him a d-bag....He is only telling you guys what I said.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      Excellent.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • John Q

      and Obama's response, "Lets make a new porgram about alligators and have the tax payers pay for it. That way the rich can give more money to the lazy and useless people in the country, but its for the alligators." Stupid Obama and democrats. get a life. Im surprised the democrats allowed them to kill the gator.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      Thank you John Q.
      You are a perfectr example of my supports. Rush listening, Fox Viewing, NASCar watching, misinformed voters.
      Hey, do me a favor...help me spread my lies about the Affordable Health Care Act.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Ann Romney

      Man, I wish Mitt would grow some balls!

      July 10, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • bob aussie

      sorry about the kid losing his arm, but sorry for you and your lack of humor. you must have stayed up all night trying out your material on your wife, no? your cousin? Oh... wife is your cousin...... no it makes sense.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • bob baden

      Romney wouldn't care. The kid isn't rich.Although by showing how dumb he is, he might be a republicant.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jeb

    In Florida they will kill a gator that threatens people. In Mass. they will put tags on great white sharks that threaten people. Spend your vacation dollars in Florida.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:09 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      1. none of the sharks has attacked anyone.
      2. Tricky to identify the one that seems to like people.
      3. Gators do not naturally attack people except under rare circu.mstances.
      4. Removing specific nuisance gators is highly effective while killing sharks rarely helps anything.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
  4. scott

    I remember canoeing in a State Park in Florida. The gator just chilled on the river bank, taking it easy. It's sad the kid got bit. It's also sad people can't joke without some emotional cnn commenter getting emotionally wounded.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. sftommy

    I thought the headline lead-in said "GABOR BITES ARM OFF FLORIDA TEEN"
    that sounded both interesting and newsworthy.

    Sorry about the real dude though, glad he survived and wish I watched more of those gator shows.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. John Holmes

    If only it would have taken his head...........Darwin.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      The boy survived an attack by an 11 foot reptile in its home territory..... Darwin.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  7. Scott

    Amazing kid. To stay calm and think through his best chances to surive is nothing short of amazing. I hope the young man is feeling better soon. While he will have a constant reminder of the event for the rest of his life, he should also always remember how brave he is and that he saved his own life where most people likley would have failed. I have a lot of respect for this kid.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
  8. TonyMontana1

    What, no vid?

    July 10, 2012 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ouay

    Damn, if watching certain shows on TV or the internet can't be helpful. Sometimes a little bit of knowledge can
    go a long way. I'm glad he survived.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. Frank Hayward

    So the kid was smart enough to know how to prevent himself from being killed YET he was swimming in a Florida river where everyone knows there are gators! Sorry, but the kid was stupid to begin with. For his stupidity, the gator had to be killed. People, if you live in Florida and near water, THERE ARE GATORS! They are not a nuisance because you decided to build or buy a house on/near water.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Define dangerous...... Do you get in a car for frivolous reasons?

      July 10, 2012 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Ann Romney

      Define dangerous...

      I define it as voting for my husband (do you guys know he has no balls?)

      July 10, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  11. SPW

    It's great that he managed to survive the attack, however I have to wonder why they opted to swim in dangerous waters and not a pool somewhere

    July 10, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • SPW

      After all, it's common knowledge in Florida not to jump into open water like canals, lakes, and rivers.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palin

      Do you mean a cement pond?

      July 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. MarkinFL

    BTW, maybe its the angle, but that does not look anything like an eleven ft. gator up in the picture. Is it a stock photo or did the tale grow in the telling?

    July 10, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  13. AMY

    Look I swam in the same water the boy was attched by. When you grow up with these animals right out you back door, you don't have that big of a fear. During rainy season, it is nothing to have them (gators), in your yard, under cars, and in roads. Before you start bad mouthing a boy for swimming in gator water, come down here and see what we are all about. Contact the people that hold offices and tell them we should be able to kill problem gators and not have to wait until this person or that person gets there so you are not facing years in jail. As for it being Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there where local people that I went to school with out there. It was the local boys that killed the damn thing. An 11 food gator could of killed the boy with out any trouble, he is lucky to have his life and eveyong is worried about why it was swimming in the water to start with.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  14. Lola

    I grew up and continue to live in Florida. I have known for as long as I can remember to never swim or even go near lakes, canals or any body of fresh or brackish water because aligators will be there and will be even more aggressive during mating season. I'm not saying he deserved what happen but I am saying he should have known better. This is Florida, gators are everywhere. They won't bother you or come after you if you just stay away from them and their territory.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      I assume that you avoid the ocean as well...

      July 10, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      Lola, you sound like an educated, intelligent Florida resident. So I guess that means you're not going to vote for me.

      July 10, 2012 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    Why did they have to kill the alligator?

    July 10, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palin

      cause killing things is fun...it God's way

      July 10, 2012 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Gators that attack a human will probably do so again. It is highly effective to remove the few gators that do so. Most gators will go out of their way to avoid people, especially adult sized people There is no shortage of gators so why keep the ones that are proven attackers?.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
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