A Florida man is still recovering after an estimated 12-foot long alligator grabbed him by the head while he was swimming earlier this month. CBS Miami reports an unbelievable twist to the incident is that the vicious attack on J.C. La Verde was captured on video by a hovering drone. La Verde was shooting footage for an instructional video with the help of a friend for his company DefeatX. In the footage you can clearly see the monstrous gator making a beeline for the swimmer just off a series of docks. La Verde never sees it coming. In seconds the two shapes in the water converge and you can see the clear splashing of a struggle.
La Verde told reporters he quickly realized what was going on as the alligator clamped its jaws around his head. His first instinct was to try and pry the jaws apart. Alligators have an incredibly strong bite force though, so that wasn't likely to happen. La Verde said he can't recall fully what happened, but after a brief struggle the big reptile let go, giving La Verde a window to swim for shore.
Once on shore, La Verde pulled himself onto a dock. A passerby helped him into their car and drove him to the hospital. La Verde called 911 himself and relayed what had happened to authorities. Once at the hospital, he had to undergo an emergency surgery that took six hours. Christine La Verde, J.C.'s wife, told Fox 13 Tampa Bay the alligator's teeth punctured J.C.'s skull, crushing part of it. At least one tooth punctured his brain. Despite the severity of his injuries, he was released after only eight days.
"That thing was huge. It wasn't a little gator, it would be funny if it was a little gator," J.C. told CBS Miami.
It is likely La Verde will need another surgery. His jaw was also wired shut due to injuries sustained in the attack. Fortunately, La Verde is a firefighter and paramedic. His skills for his job likely helped keep him calm in an extremely frightening situation.
Alligator attacks are exceedingly rare. The odds of capturing one on video are likely even rarer. Fortunately, humans are not a natural prey item, which is probably why the large reptile so quickly let him go.
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