Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Woman rescued after gator bites inflatable boat

LOXAHATCHEE — A woman was rescued by airboat on Saturday in a remote part of the Florida Everglades after an alligator bit her inflatable boat and caused it to sink, authorities said.

The woman was floating on an inflatable boat in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge when the gator attacked the raft, according to Palm Beach County Fire Rescue.

At 12:16 p.m. authorities responded to reports of a woman being attacked by an alligator, but later discovered she had been on a boat that was bitten by the gator.

"Due to the remoteness of the location, firefighters utilized an airboat to reach the woman," said Fire Rescue spokesman Capt. Albert Borroto.

The woman, who will not be identified due to privacy concerns, was evaluated at the scene. She was not injured, but she was "shaken up" by the attack, Borroto said. Fire crews transported her back to dry land.

The wildlife refuge west of Boynton Beach is the last northernmost portion of the Everglades. The area where the woman was found is popular for canoes, kayaks and hikers and the wildlife is very abundant, Borroto said.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Loxahatchee Refuge consists of more than 200 square miles of Everglades habitat. It is home to the American alligator and the endangered Everglade snail kite.

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