54ºF

Hunter expected to die in the swamp when gator bit him

Hunter says after two hours waiting for help, he said goodbye to his wife

(Credit: Stacy Shanks)

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – A 46-year-old hunter who was bitten on the leg by an alligator in a swampy wilderness area says he thought he would die there.

During a hospital news conference Tuesday, James Boyce recalled that he and his wife Terisa were miles from their truck when the 10-foot alligator bit him.

Boyce says they fastened their belts around his thigh, called 911 and waited. After two hours he gave up and “we made our goodbyes.”

A trauma hawk helicopter spotted them but couldn’t land. Another family of hunters got Boyce in their swamp buggy, added zip ties to the tourniquet and took him to the helicopter.

St. Mary’s Medical Center trauma surgeon Jorge Vega says the tourniquet minimized blood loss and saved Boyce’s life. Vega called it “survivor’s instinct.”