FOX 13 Tampa Bay / YouTube
According to the police department in St. Petersburg, Florida, a homeless woman sleeping underneath a bridge was attacked and severely injured by an alligator.
Police said the alligator crawled up from the St. Petersburg canal on Monday morning around 6am.
The bridge is located just over Salt Creek which is near 4th Street and 18th Avenue South. Homeless people are known to sleep under this bridge near the sea wall and on this particular morning, it was not the best place to be sleeping.
The lady apparently rolled over and fell in the canal and was bitten on the arm, leg, and hand. Dale Mastry, who owns a bait and tackle shop near the bridge says he heard her fall into the water.
“I heard she was sleeping at the edge of the wall,” Dale told FOX. “And then she fell in and it splashed. He just reacted like an alligator would act, just spontaneously.”
Dale said he’s owned the tackle shop for about 50 years and he’s never heard of an alligator attacking someone under the bridge. The woman was said to be in her 50s and was quickly taken to the hospital where she is in stable condition.
“You see them every now and then swimming up and down the creek and then they’re gone,” Dale said.
Florida Wildlife experts were sent out to the location where the incident took place and trapped the gator. They measured it and it was an impressive 10 feet and 11 inches long.
According to Florida Fish & Wildlife, the state has had on average about five unprovoked attacks per year since 1948, totaling more than 300 attacks.
They say that there are alligators in all 67 of Florida’s counties and there is always a chance there will be a human and gator encounter.