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. rufus

    I blame Gator Nation and Tim Tebow for this. Gator takes life or limb whilst he sings a hymn.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      You are an idiot.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kim

    Florida red*necks are dominating CNN today! If they're not in the swamp fighting gators they're in the courtroom brawling....

    July 10, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. nitrous

    Stoopid redneck. The gator should have done him a favor and snapped his head off. Obviously he didn't use it when he decided to go swimming where they hang out. Also – I didn't know alligators were rare in Florida.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • ibb Now

      LOL!

      July 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      They are anything but rare, but they rarely attack. Tens of thousands of people swim and play in the rivers and lakes of
      Florida every year and there are a few attacks each year, some more and less than others. Only a few like this occur without other factors (time of day, molested gator, swimming in posted areas.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rmsbl4

      A little bit of lack of reader comprehension. The story didn't say gators were rare, it said gator ATTACKS are rare.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      More idiots (i.e, Kim, nitrous and Nick) the first one was rufus the dufas. You obviously are ignorant of Florida and too foolish and arrogant to understand that you are ignorant. People swim in those waters all the time and never get attacked by an alligator. The chances of being attacked by an alligator are about the same as being struck by lightening, but when it happens it makes the news.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bob baden

      Bingo! I know it likely comes as a surpirze BUT them thar waters in Florida is full of gator. Swim in a pool.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Nick

    People are stupid. Anywhere you live there is something that can kill you. Tornado alley, eastern diamondback rattle snakes, they just dont live in the south! People that live in florida know more about these animals than anyone else in the country. I know because i used to live there. If we lived being scared and avoiding these things nobody would have a life. Oh what about the great whites swimming up and down the east coast now? You think they dont make their way up rivers, any shark for that matter. But my point is fresh water, salt water north or south you all have your dangerous animals. Gators dont attack just because they feel like it. They attack because they are hungry and you are nothing more than food to them. But most of the time they wont even bother you. The only reason this happened was because it was an 11 foot gator!!! If it was any smaller it wouldn't even had bothered the kid because he would have been to big for the gator. 11 footers are rare and when you come across one, you damn well better report it. But seriously people use your head before you comment. You just make yourself sound ignorant! If you have something to say about what i said please do it directly. Anyone can die at any given time for any reason, I am not going to live in a bubble. I give credit to the kid for thinking fast and doing what he needed too before he lost everything. I would want that gators head as a trophy though!!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      Just for the record being that i am from florida.....you wont see my A55 in fresh water in florida!

      July 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      And many won't swim in the ocean. Its a personal choice.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nikki

      You sir are the first smartest person to comment I've seen on cnn. Your reply was full of info and experience. You care about the kid instead of some stupid political or unrelevant crap. My brother went to New Orleans and had "fun" with the gators there, he loved it and none attacked!!! Thanks for your comment.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • bb

      Say what directly? That swimming in gator infested waters is stupid? Is that direct enough. Is there nothing else to do in that part of Florida....no swimming pools or movie theaters?

      July 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      I think these kids are lying.
      I think they were in there messing with the gators BECAUSE of the braindead aligator shows on TV.
      Hey....live and learn moe ronz...

      July 10, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    O.o
    Wow.
    Just wow.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ibb Now

    "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.

    Oh No! He was not smart!!! He should not have gone swimming in the Caloosahatchee River...not too smart!!!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kei

    I give the kid credit for doing what he did, but at the same time, I agree that he shouldn't have been swimming in the river during mating season. I grew up in Central Florida. You learn that you don't swim in gator-infested waters during mating season (or, you know, at all), just like you learn you don't surf or swim in the ocean during shark feeding hours. You take precautions to keep yourself safe. I'm not saying you avoid the activity completely, but you use common sense. Swimming with overprotective gators is not using common sense. They typically avoid humans, sure, but a mother is very aggressive when she thinks she is defending her young.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Then you should know its no longer mating season....Even just from actually reading the story, you should know that. The gators are of course still quite active but they are past rutting and are not normally randomly belligerent right now. This was an unusual attack. The kid was doing nothing wrong. Of course many people say swimming in fresh water in Florida is stupid and the same can be said about the ocean, or hiking in the woods with bears or cougars. Life has some risk. Gator attack is a very unlikely way to get hurt in Florida. Cars, thugs, lightning and the local neighborhood watch will take you out sooner.

      July 10, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. addressingstupidignorantpeople

    Rotflmao you people have really made my day, Don is behind his Dell PC trying to figure out my education history and calling people names, its not nice Don. You mad? And I stand corrected, 11ft from the article I read and I don't wear glasses Don. And its totally your business if you wanna give a gator your life instead of your arm. Oh and by the way Don I graduated from UF (University of Florida) what about yourself. And remember to capitalize what is supposed to be and use the correct punctuation Don because I'm wondering if you passed the fifth grade. LOL.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bb

    Who swims in water that alligators live in?

    July 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • fawker

      alligators live in all Florida waterways and lakes

      July 10, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hollywood

    It was a sad accident people. I hope he does well with physical therapy. Good luck young man!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John

    These gators can be seen on the banks or floating at the top of the water all along that River, so if you're ignorant enough to go swimming as if to believe a wild alligator simply won't attack, then you'll end up like this kid or worse. They always make the aftermath seem like it's no big deal. "Yeah, I lost my arm but it could have been worse." It reminds me of the surfers going into waters where bull sharks have repeatedly attacked other surfers. A young guy lost a leg and a girl an arm and during the interview sometime later, they both described how simple and quick the surgery was to get them back home and healing up so that they could go surfing again. Yeah, it's all that simple. Try tying a leg or arm up so that you can't use it and see how well you get around for the day. It'll make you think twice whether it would be worth the loss and how simple and painless the surgery will be.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MotoJB

    I don't understand how these people swim in these waters...find a POOL!

    July 10, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      POOLS!?!?!??!?! Do you know how many kids die or are seriously harmed in POOLS?!?!? Are you crazy? Only an inbred fool would get near one!

      July 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Society

    The good news is Southern people only live in the South....

    July 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  14. addressingstupidignorantpeople

    Listen NJ they could've possibly made the gator throw up and let it go. There are people living near the lake. They could stop people from swimming, but if that gator is hungry enough he can get out and take a stroll and somebody could possibly be walking or running and he could attack. Children could be playing and he could attack. Would you take that risk or just kill the gator? And Kaleb knew gators were in the water, look he's happy he has life.

    July 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Norm

    Let's all go swimming in aligator infested waters...
    Is that ok mom and dad?
    Sure....you kds have a good time..........(burrrrp).........
    Yeah...get outa the house...I'm trying to watch my soaps......

    July 10, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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