Wildlife Officials Kill Alligator That Bit Off Woman's Arm

An alligator was captured and killed by state wildlife officials after it had bit off a woman's arm. Witnesses say Rachael Lilienthal, 37, of Orlando was swimming near vegetation when an alligator bit her in the torso and arm and dragged her under the water multiple times. Jakob Frick, who was canoeing with friends nearby, said "We see the jaws just chomp down on her arm, and it starts spinning around, pulls her underwater, goes back up. She's just screaming." Nearby kayakers heard Lilienthal screaming and ran to help her. One person beat the alligator with a paddle, while others brought her to shore.

Lilienthal was rushed to Orlando Regional Medical Center and underwent surgery. She survived but lost an arm below the elbow. Lilienthal told authorities she'd been swimming by herself in a busy area and had wanted to check out a more remote area of the river. Frick said he and his friends had warned her to get out of the water because they had already seen a few alligators. Richard Ward, who was onshore, said "You just saw some blood and some bone. There wasn't anything else there." Florida Fish and Wildlife officials dispatched crews to hunt the animal following the attack. They captured and euthanized the gator shortly after midnight on Sunday. Officials said it will be harvested for meat.

Photo: New York Daily News

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