Anti-gator box: Alligator cage invented after surveyor gets bitten

The 8-foot cage blocks out gator bites

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla - A surveyor bitten by a 10-foot alligator while working in a West Palm Beach canal has returned to work according to managers at Florida engineering firm Wantman Group Incorporated.

The worker is expected to make a full recover after being bitten on the foot February 11 while in a canal that runs along Australian Boulevard, south of 45th Street.

To make sure a gator attack never happens again, the company has created a new device for crews.

"I've been surveying for about 20 years and in my 20 years of surveying, it's been just get in the water and go," said Jose Mendoza of Wantman Group Inc.

Mendoza said the attack on his fellow employee was a wake-up call. He and others got together after their friend was bitten to design what is now an 8-foot cage.

"It's actually very comfortable feeling. When you're out in the water and you can't see six inches past your face and you're swimming in a cup of coffee," said Mendoza.

Made purely out of light-weight aluminum, the cage now goes everywhere with Wantman crews.

The team hands whoever is in the water pipes through the top of the cage all the while being completely surrounded by bars. The gaps in the cage are so small, only small fish can swim through.    

"I honestly think that if you're going to be working in their environment, then you should be as safe as you possibly can," said Mendoza.

The team of surveyors calls the "anti-gator box" a game changer. They think other companies will see the device and follow suit not wanting to risk another close encounter with the "gator-kind."

"I know I've seen 13-foot alligators out there and you can't see six inches past your face," said Mendoza. "It just gives you that comfort feeling that you're safe."

The worker who was bitten was not made available for comment. His manager said he is recovering well and cannot wait to get back into the water.

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