WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Bystanders rescued a Utah animal handler attacked by an alligator Saturday at a West Valley City wildlife center.
The handler, who has not been identified publicly, was educating a small crowd at Scales and Tails Utah about the reptile, when it latched onto her left hand and pulled her into the water, KSTU reported.
After Wiseman covered the alligator with his body, the handler can be heard in the video calmly directing him on the next steps to take. Another man, identified as Todd Christopher, then helped the handler escape the pool before the woman talks Wiseman through how to exit himself, KSTU reported.
Meanwhile, Todd Christopher’s wife, Amy Christopher, administered first aid to the handler while the crowd awaited first responders, the TV station reported.
“These gentlemen could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator. Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs,” Scales and Tails Utah wrote on its Facebook page.
The company also confirmed in its post that the handler “is doing well and is in recovery.”
Scales and Tails owner Shane Richins told KSL-TV that the alligator is usually “mellow,” but the trainer may have made a “slight misstep” when she placed her hand out in preparation for a feeding. Fortunately, the trainer used her extensive training and experience to roll with the alligator rather than fight, he said.
“I hope no one thinks it’s a good idea to just run out and hop on a gator because they saw it, but they probably saved (the trainer’s) arm and possibly her life by running in and stabilizing him so he couldn’t keep rolling on her, and then they just held him still until he relaxed and let her go,” Richins told KSL-TV.
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