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. puckles


    "Because it's just an animal."

    Just like YOU.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve C.

      Risk and Stupid.

      There is a huge difference between "Risk and Reward". What was the kid's reward for being so stupid?

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

    I understand the comments about "living life." I also understand the "darwinian" comments. Gotta admit the darwinians are winning this one. Death comes to everyone sooner or later. Can come anytime or anywhere, i.e. crossing a street, driving a car etc. per examples in some of these comments. Here is the key, if you want it to be later, don't do things that will increase your chances of meeting him. It is all percentages. If you swim where there are alligators or close to sharks (I also have ridden in a helicopter and seen how close some fairly large and scary sharks get to swimmers without the swimmers being aware of it), you are increasing the chances that you will meet death sooner rather than later. You just do things you like to do, while at the same time minimizing the chances of a face to face with the Grim Reaper. See that bear or mountain lion in the woods? Don't go try to feed it or pet it.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Everyone must choose their own balance of risk/reward. With a little caution all of the above activities can be rewarding without undue risk. If you live a zero risk life, you PROBABLY haven't "lived" too much. Some people get great pleasure out of extremely low risk lives which is fine for them, but most people want to experience things outside of their day to day existence.
      Swimming in the ocean and in rivers is not really that high on the risk scale.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bubbles

      Im sure more people are killed in helicopter crashes than shark attacks every year, just sayin....

      July 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      @Mark, agreed. Everyone has to choose via their own risk/reward. Though generally those that choose the higher risk meet the Grim Reaper sooner rather than later. For myself, I live, I just don't choose to try to feed the bear, I'll take a picture of it. I have swam in the ocean, just not when the water is murky/cloudy where I could be mistaken for a seal. That kind of thing is what I'm talking about. Live, but, try not to be stupid about it and remove yourself from the gene pool before your time.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      I agree, but swimming in a river that has alligators is actually a very low risk activity. Its just that it tickles a primal fear which magnifies the seeming danger. Ravenous monster with big teeth is a perfect nightmare. The fact that they are naturally timid and cautious and just want to stay the heck away from us doesn't cross some people's minds. On the other hand, I would not jump in if I saw them hanging about close by either. I'm not beyond having my own primal fears. That includes sharks.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nick


    i sure hope you have no loved one in your life because god forbid something happens to them and we say good they deserved it. Karma will catch up to you one day. Just think the next time something bad happens to you.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • puckles

      I don't care what you would say. Your opinions are of no consequence in my life. You are NOBODY in my world.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jynx33

    It's a real good idea to not swim in Florida rivers and ponds ... ever. Especially around gator mating season. You're just plain old flat out overmatched against them, especially in the water. I hate to to pile on, but the kid didn't so much lose his arm so much as he gave it away.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Daniel

    He would have been smart by STAYING OUT OF THE RIVER WITH KNOWN ALLIGATORS. And now, they killed it. Dumb hick.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • who cares

      it's just a stupid gator, who cares.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      EVERY river and lake in Florida that is not dead has alligators. Thousands upon thousands of people swim in them all of the time. Alligators are not aggressive toward humans by nature except under rare circ.umstances. Far less so than many sharks really. VERY few people get bit and fewer killed. Hiking in the forest can get you killed as well as swimming in the ocean. The risk is low so people do it.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. puckles

    These TOTAL LOSERS should not have been swimming in this area to begin with. Who cares if he lost his arm? Who cares if he died? It would mean one less STUPID person on the earth. I am glad he lost his arm. Maybe this will teach him a lesson. I am sure they killed the alligator too, which is a total joke!

    July 10, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • who cares

      i hope you lose your arm

      July 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve C.

      @ who cares

      I bet you are a good christian!

      July 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Nick

    the gator population is not going to suffer because of the loss of the gator.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • puckles

      The human population will not suffer from the loss of STUPID people like you.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. cocoloco

    The boy was not smart, but retarded and got what he never thought he would get. Lesson learned! Hopefully parents and kids are paying attention to never underestimate wild life and always be intelligent enough to have common sense. Hope the boy does a tour through Florida telling others of the danger of swimming where they don't belong!

    July 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. puckles


    You must enjoy swimming in alligator infested waters yourself. I hope you get eaten by a gater. By the way, there is no "KARMA." Only STUPID people believe in Karma.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jeff

    "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.

    But yet he's dumb enough to swim with them for fun.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Nick


    No i am one that tends to avoid fresh water. I tend to like my life and dont need to double my chances of dying. I already to that on a daily basis. But the kid made a stupid decision, but like all people he doesn't deserve to die for it. Saying that he should have died or however you worded it wasn't the brightest move. Only stupid people would say that!

    July 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • puckles

      LOL!!!!!!! You are supposed to capitalize "I." And it is "do" NOT "to." Take an English grammar class. You have to be the stupidest person I have ever come across.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve C.

      Hey Nick, Puckles is flirting with you! He want's you!

      July 10, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. John

    And there is no cure for stupidity either Deedz. Alligators don't go around gathering food for their "families". They eat, lay eggs, protect the eggs, and watch over the hatchlings. At no time does the alligator feed their offspring. The main reason the alligator was killed was more than likely to try to retrieve the poor kids arm for reattachment, not punishment.
    Swift recovery to you Kaleb, at least you have a great story to tell when people ask what happened to your arm.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deedz

      @John – you're right and gators dont eat either !! that comment makes you as ignorant as the stupid boy who lost his arm to the gator. How intelligent do you have to be to go swimming in those waters. You are priceless! Maybe you should go visit the boy in the hospital and tell him how proud you are of his wonderful decision to go swimming with his buddies in those waters.

      July 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TC

    Why anyone would want to swim in a freshwater lake or river in a state full of gators is beyond me. I'm relieved the kid survived, but I believe this could have been avoided by exercising some caution.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      "Full of alligators". Define full. More than one? One? Ten?

      July 10, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Mickey1313

    When we kill animals who are hunting in there territory, because stupid people are taking risks, we are helping the dumb gain power and killing nature. I wish this moron would have died, or caught some bad bug infection. He deserved it for swimming with gators

    July 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Oh look another clueless poster has joined the discussion.

      July 10, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Polarb33r

    Most of you geniuses never did something stupid when you were 17 right? I imagine when you grow up around it and don't hear of attacks very often you could get comfortable. So don't judge unless you lived this kids life and experience. I'm sure you all have screwed up in your own way. Some get medical conditions, some lose a few teeth, this kid lost his arm. But he's still alive.

    July 10, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gurgi

      Yeah, something really needs to be done about the "S" that teenagers (especially boys) seem to think they have on their chest. Unless it is part of the "darwinian" plan to weed out the "weakest."

      July 10, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
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