STUART, Fla. — A man was flown to a hospital with serious injuries Monday after he was attacked by an alligator that bit him at a Stuart park, authorities said.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office said the victim fell off his bicycle at Halpatiokee Regional Park, located in the 8300 block of Southwest Lost River Road in Stuart, and into the water, where he was attacked by the gator.
Video from the sheriff's office showed paramedics loading the man on a stretcher into a Martin County Fire Rescue helicopter.
Man seriously injured after being bit by an alligator at Halpatiokee Park in Stuart. Victim fell off of his bike and said he was attacked. First responders on are the scene now. pic.twitter.com/41d07hpZIT— MartinCountySheriff (@MartinFLSheriff) July 19, 2021
Deputies said the man was seriously injured in the attack.
"He had a lot of marks all over his leg, but mainly in the upper thigh," witness Charlie Shannon said.
Shannon was walking his dog Monday when he came upon a biker in distress in a body of water.
"He was hanging on roots like five feet below," Shannon said. "It was hard to get him out."
Shannon used his dog leash as a makeshift tourniquet as he and others lifted the man out.
"I hope he's all right, and just to be able to get him out of the water and tie it off, I think that helped," Shannon said.
Scott Lorraine with the Airborne Mountain Bike Club also came upon the scene. He said the victim is an accomplished rider who lost a tire going around a curve, landing right on top of the gator.
"But he slid out and the water is literally a couple of feet away and he went right into the water, and just as bad luck would be, the gator was right there," Lorraine said.
A trapper who came to the scene and captured the reptile said the female gator was 8 feet long and will be relocated.
"She was sitting 10 feet off the bank when I showed up," trapper John Davidson said. "That leads me to believe that she was a female and sitting on a nest somewhere close. So we'll attempt to rescue the babies if we can."
Davidson said gators are extra aggressive this time of year. The big gator was the third he had picked up on Monday alone.
"This is really pretty out here," Davidson said. "People hike and walk and you're with nature. Especially this time of year, you just have to be aware of what's around you."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said serious injuries caused by alligators are rare. If anyone encounters a nuisance gator, call 866-FWC-GATOR.