Friday, September 24, 2021

Bicyclist falls into water at Martin County park.

MARTIN COUNTY — A man riding his bike at a park right off Interstate 95 in Martin County was attacked by an alligator Monday, according to sheriff’s officials who responded to the scene.

The unidentified man was airlifted to Lawnwood Reginal Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce with “traumatic” injuries, said Fire Rescue official Shawn Lisowy.

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The man was bitten at Halpatiokee Regional Park, off I-95, about 17 miles from the Palm Beach County border. Lisowy did not know where the man was bit or how long first responders remained at the scene, he said. 

A female alligator measuring over 8-feet long, pictured on top, was captured alive at Halpatiokee Park on Monday, July 19, 2021 after it bit a man who fell from his bike, according to Martin County sheriff's officials. Two other gators in the bin were from residential stops the trapper made before arriving at the park.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers on the scene wouldn’t comment on the incident. In an emailed statement, spokesperson Carollyn Parrish said FWC is handling the ongoing investigation.

The cyclist lost control at about 11 a.m. while riding over a wooden bridge on a trail over a mile into the park. He fell into a small body of water, about six feet down an embankment, where he was bit, according to the sheriff’s office. The man was able to crawl away, and a bystander helped rescue him. 

Alligator trapper John Davidson responded to Halpatiokee Park on Monday, July 19, 2021, where he captured an 8-foot female alligator that attacked a man who had fallen from his bike.

The female alligator measured over 8-feet long, weighing an estimated 170 pounds, and was captured Monday by trapper John Davidson, who was called to the scene. 

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Davidson was able to capture the alligator quickly and believes it may have a nest nearby that prompted it to stay close to the area. The trapper plans to return to the park Tuesday to search for the eggs and safely relocate them. 

“You got to be careful when you’re around the water, especially this time of year,” said Davidson, a retired fireman who has been a trapper for about 10 years. “The females are sitting on nests and are particularly aggressive.”

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials responded to Halpatiokee Park on Monday, July 19, 2021, where a man who fell from his bike was attacked by an 8-foot female alligator.

The alligator is being relocated to a farm near Fort Drum, Davidson said. 

Davidson added that alligator attacks are very rare, maybe two or three annually throughout the state.

The last known fatal alligator attack in South Florida is believed to have happened in Davie in 2018. Shizuka Matsuki was walking her dogs at Silver Lakes Rotary Park on June 8 when she was apparently attacked by an alligator, according to the FWC. Her body was found in the park’s lake after apparently being bitten by a 12-foot-6-inch alligator. She was last seen walking her dogs. One of them was bitten but survived.

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