After Disney Alligator Attack, Survivors Talk Encounters With the Reptiles: 'He's Gone With My Arm'
Rachael Lilenthal’s right arm was bitten off by a monster aligator last August, and she lived to tell the tale.
It happened while she was swimming in a picturesque river near Orlando — just 50 miles from the Disney World resort where a 2-year-old boy was snatched by a gator Tuesday night.
"I was not aware that it was an alligator at first but sure enough, when it clamped my arm, it's a big ole' gator's head sitting right there. It was most definitely an alligator on my arm,” she told Inside Edition.
Lilienthal says the 9-foot-long beast came out of nowhere. She was rescued by a couple kayaking nearby who called 911.
The 37-year-old said: “The gator did take off with my arm and I thought at first, ‘thank God, he's gone!’ And then I’m like, ‘Oh my God, he's gone with my arm!’”
In 2014, 9-year-old James Barney Jr. described a harrowing encounter with a 400-pound gator in a lake outside Orlando.
“I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth, I didn't know what to do, and so I immediately reacted and hit it a couple times,” he told Inside Edition.
More and more alligators have been venturing out of the swamps into civilization. They've ended up in swimming pools, golf courses, and homes.
Tuesday night's horror at the Grand Floridan Hotel hit home for Doug McCord, who still has scars from a 2010 gator attack he endured during a swim in a lake, also outside Orlando.
He recalled the events to Inside Edition, saying: “I’m in mid-stroke, and boom! I get hit on the side and he grabbed me underneath. I kinda fought away and then he came again and got me around the waist. I hit him and ran out of the water.”