Woman attacked by alligator near Florida park

Woman sustained significant bite injuries

PORT ST. JOHN, Fla. - Brevard County Sheriff's deputies responded to a woman who was bitten by an alligator in Port St. John on Saturday.

Nicole Tillman was swimming in a body of water west of Fay Lake Wilderness Park around 2:30 p.m. Saturday when she was attacked. Officials said, Tillman sustained significant bite injuries.

Dave Nygard watched it happen. 

"It's scary," he said. "We pull her out and her side and her thigh is open. 30 seconds later, we see an alligator head pop up." 

Because of inaccessibility, Tillman was brought to the area of Golfview Boulevard and Port St. John Parkway in Brevard County, where she was airlifted to a hospital as a trauma alert patient. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is in charge of the investigation, and said Tillman is expected to be okay. 

"As far as alligator bites, I think this is the second I've had in 35 years," Brevard County Fire Rescue District Chief Thomas Uzel said. 

The last major alligator attack to happen in Florida was at Moss Park in 2017 after an alligator bit a 10-year-old girl at Lake Mary Jane. Two years later, the park's swimming and beach area is still closed.

In 2016 an alligator snatched a child from the shoreline of a lagoon outside Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. The beach had "no swimming" signs but none warning about alligators.

FWC released a statement on the incident, saying in part: 

"Serious injuries caused by alligators are rare in Florida. FWC places the highest priority on public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP) to address complaints concerning specific alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets or property. People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR(866-392-4286). When someone concerned about an alligator calls the Nuisance Alligator Hotline, we will dispatch one of our contracted nuisance alligator trappers to resolve the situation. FWC also works diligently to keep Floridians and visitors informed, including providing advice about living with alligators."

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