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. Keq

    My mama said gators are so mean cuz they got all them teeth and no toothbrush!

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

    Feel bad for the kid but come on, you live in florida- go to a pool.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Shmeckell

      Are we allowed to swim in the ocean?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Slowgun

      When people swim in the ocean, they don't do it if they know the waters are shark invested.
      These folks know the waters are filled with gators and went in anyways.

      July 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  3. addressingstupidignorantpeople

    Look for all you ignorant, stupid, stupid, stupid people, as a fellow resident in Moore Haven people have been swimming and having fun in that lake for years and gators have not been a problem, they go about their business and don't bother anyone. And for you guys to call the young man stupid, no you guys are stupid, he did what he knew, he gave the gator his arm so the gator wouldn't take him under and drown him. The gator was 10 to 11 feet, why would he play with a gator that big or any gator IN WATER. I would say he's pretty smart for thinking smart that fast. I'm laughing at you people because your calling him stupid, but MarkinFl is right you people get cars everyday with the risk of being killed and some of your asses don't even wear seatbelts. And for PoBoy who clearly just wanted to comment to point out someone's grammar over a boy's arm missing I just wanna know where you graduated from and yes sir he be a man now, but you're not boy. Even though Kaleb might just get on here and laugh at these very dumb comments, I think you guys need to show some respect and consider his family and pray for them. What if it was someone you loved?

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

      So, because "gators have not been a problem" in that lake before, that makes swimming in it safe or a reasonable thing to do? I've never gotten in an accident when I've driven 20 miles over the speed limit, but that doesn't make it safe or reasonable. If you live in gator country, the safe and reasonable thing to do is swim somewhere else.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      You do not have to speed to be killed in an accident. Why do you continue such a dangerous activity? Perhaps because it is statistically not that dangerous. Like swimming in a river in Florida......

      July 10, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Don

      what a rambling idiot you are....first, 10-11'???? better get your eyes checked.....or maybe you have coke bottle glasses magnifying things lol, the gator was about 5' maybe 6' . And it IS stupid to go swimming where there are gators. No person other than an idiot would do that. And what a dumb thing to do tear your arm off!!! give me a break. I think your comments are so bad you must have only made it through the 5th grade...right....LOL

      July 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. addressingstupidignorantpeople

    And for all of you concerned with the gator being killed, guess what he's would've been concerned about, chomping down on your asses. He probably attacked because he was being fed or something. He HAD TO DIE because he attacked a human and he WOULD HAVE continued to attack humans so he had to go. If you guys were so concerned with the dang gator you should've went and got em and kept em.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:55 am | Report abuse |
    • NJ

      I'm sorry but you don't kill a gator for being a gator. How about you slap everybody in Florida who thinks it's okay to swim with gators. If the gator walked into your house and you cut its arm off, should you be killed? Stay out of their territory and don't blame them for being what they are....Animals.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Johnny Orlando

    That kid had some balls to get away like that.

    July 10, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. Alan

    The kid was braver than most....most would panic and die

    July 10, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lobelia

    Darwinism in action.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Yep, the intelligent kid survived an attack from a huge reptile in its home territory. The gator is dead, the kid will survive to go on and have a family. Evolution continues....

      July 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. RS

    II wouldn't have the balls to rip my own arm off as an offering to a gator, even if I wasn't left with a choice. I doubt any of you fruits would have done what this child did either. That's some serious courage.

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

    He is going to be able to swim circles like a champ once he heals.

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

    Reading through the comments, the women on this page seem to be badmouthing the kid. The men can attest that this was an act of courage. Must be very easy to shrug this off as "no big deal, the kid was stupid to go in the lake" sitting at the comfort of your keyboards, Keyboard Warriors.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bullgator

    I grew up in FL in the pan handle country back in the 60's when they said gators were endangered. They were not endangered. They were everywhere. Now the gator population has increased 100 fold. The fact that a gator "rarely" attacks humans is one attack too many. There is an easy solution, the gators need to be hunted back to endangered status. The life of every gator in FL is not worth the life of one human. Would you sacrifice your son or daughter for a gator? This is NOT the gator's territory. Humans rule this planet. Let me say that again for you liberal tree huggers – HUMANS RULE THIS PLANET. If gators want to be in charge, let them grow thumbs, walk up right and learn calculus. Until then all of the territory in FL is HUMAN territory.

    BTW – I graduated from the Univ of FL and recall a student being killed by a gator while I was there. There are many more attacks than the liberals would have you know.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      You actually graduated from UF???? How sad for a great school.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palin

      Great Post Bullgator!
      Dogs bite more people every year than gators do. So we should hunt dogs to the point where they are endangered, because they don't have thumbs and can't that there calculus thingy you mentioned (whatever that is)

      July 10, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JW

    YOU LIVE IN FLORIDA!!!!!!! WHY, WHY, WHY are you SWIMMING IN RIVERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't mean to yell, but for crying out loud!!!!!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shmeckell

      I live in Florida, why why why would I swim in the ocean with sharks?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Do you go outside your house?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Dino

    Swimming in the Florida swamp during gator mating season? This is 2012, you would think people would put up warning signs or know better.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Actually, as noted in the story, it is past mating season. They are still very active though and caution is advised. However, abject fear is for the ignorant.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RS

    Lol@ JW and Dino

    Apparently you two skipped your teenage years and have been mature adults since birth. I've always wondered, how does it feel going through life without having made a single error in judgment? Are you both Gods? Man, I'd love to meet you geniuses. You both are probably wealthy as can be, too! KEEP IN MIND, THIS. WAS. A 17-YEAR. OLD. TEENAGER.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sarah Palin

      "I've always wondered, how does it feel going through life without having made a single error in judgment?"

      RS, let me tell you...It feels great!

      July 10, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. selbonj

    He got what he deserved. try coming into my house and you know im home. You will lose more than your arm. YOu will lose ur ass too. dummy!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
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