MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — A man is recovering in the hospital after he was bitten by an alligator on Saturday in the DuPuis Management Area/SW Corbett Wildlife Area, which sits along the Martin-Palm Beach County Line.
While participating in a hog hunt, 46-year-old James G. Boyce was grabbed by the gator.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office Aviation Unit battled bad weather, low visibility and swampy conditions to help locate Boyce in heavy marsh.
"The wife did an amazing job," said Brad Bost, a pilot for MCSO's Aviation Unit. "She initially saved his life with the tourniquets she applied."
Bost said crews used a Lifestar helicopter and swamp buggy to locate Boyce, adding that time was of the essence.
"Due to the conditions, how bad the weather was, how bad visibility was, and trying to find them in a 22,000-acre state park, it's a needle in a haystack," said Bost.
Boyce sustained a substantial injury to his right leg and was transported by Martin County Fire Rescue's LifeStar air ambulance helicopter to St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach with non-life threatening injuries.
“He was talking and responding but he was cold because he had wet hunting gear, so we had to turn the heat on in the ship,” said Mike Guercio, a firefighter/paramedic assigned to the flight team.
A witness said the alligator was approximately 10 feet long.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office said Florida Fish and Game will be investigating the incident.
According to a GoFundMe page, Boyce has a long recovery ahead. He will spend a few days in the hospital to make sure he doesn’t get an infection.
The page also says he owns and operates two small businesses, but does not have company medical insurance.
Bost says the rescue was challenging, but also very rewarding.
“The fact that we were able to find someone and get him to where he needed to be is what gets you up in the morning,” Bost said.
Boyce, his family, and doctor plan to speak with the media Tuesday afternoon at Saint Mary’s Medical Center.