SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – A Seminole County man bitten by an alligator said his training as a paramedic helped him think quickly during the attack.
Carsten Kieffer was alligator hunting on Lake Jesup last Thursday when he was bitten.
“We saw the big gator laying up in the middle of the canal,” said Kieffer.
Kieffer said that he and another person on the boat work as paramedics for the City of Tavares Fire Department.
“Unfortunately, since we were so shallow, he was able to push off the bottom and launch himself into the boat and that’s where he got a hold of my arm,” Kieffer said.
Florida Fish and Wildlife wrote in their report that Kieffer’s arm was “approximately three feet above water level.”
“Once I felt him get a hold of my arm, and just the pressure and the weight of him, it was just unreal,” said Kieffer.
Kieffer said that his friends stepped in, freeing him from what he predicts was a 12-foot-long gator.
“My Buddy was able to put a rod in his mouth and pry it open and keep him from turning and eventually ripping my arm off or even worse, pulling me into the water,” said Kieffer.
Kieffer said that he has hunted alligators dozens of times, but last Thursday was likely his last.
“Even if I wanted to, I don’t think my wife would allow it. So, you know I’m a smart husband, so I know when to pick my battles and that’s probably not one I need to take,” said Kieffer.
Kieffer said doctors believe they can save his arm as he’s regained feeling in his fingers. He said he is unsure how long his recovery will be.