Swimmer loses arm after alligator attack in Orlando area

File photo of an alligator. Image AP.

ORLANDO, FL (NBC) – A woman in Florida lost part of her arm after she was attacked by an alligator while swimming in an Orlando-area river Saturday, officials said.

The attack happened in the Wekiva River, which was crowded with swimmers, at around 3:30 p.m. The woman swam to a slightly more secluded area and was attacked, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Karen Parker said.

Alligator safety tips from FWC
Alligator safety tips from FWC.

The 37-year-old woman told investigators that something grabbed her arm and pulled her under, Parker said. A person canoeing heard the woman’s cries and brought her to shore, Parker said. The woman was taken to Orlando Medical Center and lost her right arm below the elbow, Parker said. She had no other major injuries, Parker said.

A witness told NBC station WESH that “it was very scary … her arm was gone and there was blood everywhere.” The woman does not have any other serious injuries, Parker said.

The alligator was captured later and it was confirmed that it had bitten the woman, according to FWC.

Alligator attacks are not unheard of in Florida, and have happened in the Wekiva River before, Parker said. The river runs north of Orlando.

Twelve people were bitten by alligators in Florida in 2013, and seven of those cases were deemed “major,” according to state statistics. The last fatality from an alligator bite in Florida was in 2007.

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