FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A bicyclist who was bitten by an alligator after falling into the water at a Stuart park Monday is recovering.
Palm City resident Robert Bassett, 74, was smiling and sitting up in his hospital bed as he posed for a photograph with his doctor in a picture provided by Lawnwood Regional Medical Center on Tuesday.
Bassett was riding his bicycle at Halpatiokee Regional Park when he somehow lost control and landed in a stream, where he was bitten several times by an 8-foot-long gator.
Dr. Jason Moore said he's treated some alligator bites in the past, but never one quite as severe.
"The initial concern is how severe the injury is and how compromised they are," Moore told WPTV. "Obviously, we're worried about blood loss, but in his situation, I was more concerned, or also concerned, about the significant muscle damage and lacerations that he suffered from the alligator bite."
Charlie Shannon was walking his dog in the park when he came upon Bassett in distress in the water. Shannon said he used his dog leash as a makeshift tourniquet as he and others lifted Bassett out of the water.
Bassett was flown to the hospital by a Martin County Fire Rescue helicopter.
A trapper was called and captured the gator.
Moore said Bassett was very thankful there were others nearby who helped him almost immediately after the attack.