LEESBURG, Fla. — An alligator attacked an elderly woman in a canal near a Leesburg-area mobile home park this morning and ripped off her arm, authorities said.
Carol Hough, 84, was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center, according Sgt. Jim Vachon, a Lake County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
She was in stable condition, according to Joy Hill, a spokeswoman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hough’s neighbor, Delmas Zickefoose, was having his morning coffee on his deck when he spotted the widow flailing in the 4-foot-deep canal that runs behind their homes in the Cypress Creek Mobile Home Park, officials said.
Zickefoose said he called 911 and jumped into the canal to help Hough. He pulled her to the bank near his home and tried to comfort her. “I laid her on the bank on my shore and I just held her. I just held her,” Zickefoose said. “I kept telling her the rescue squad is on the way.”
Hough’s entire left arm was gone but she wasn’t screaming or “didn’t seem in any pain,” he said.
Hough uttered only, “Gator, gator,” he said.
Zickefoose hadn’t seen the animal but said “he felt prepared to protect her if it was still around.”