Florida Dad Pulls Son From Gator's Jaws

6-year-old suffers minor injuries as reptile thwarts canoe trip

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 23, 2013 3:52 AM CDT | Updated Apr 23, 2013 6:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – Florida dad Joseph Welch may have set a new record for the worst ever start to a canoe trip: He was still at the concession stand paying for a canoe at a northern Everglades wildlife refuge when his 6-year-old son toppled into the water and was seized by an 8-foot alligator. The boy escaped with only minor injuries after Welch grabbed him with one hand and punched the reptile with the other while a bystander kicked it in the belly, the Miami Herald reports.

"There had to have been angels holding this beast back," Welch says. "That alligator had no reason to let go, no reason." He says his son, who was treated for cuts and bruises after the attack last Friday, is doing fine, hasn't had trouble sleeping, and was even able to return to school yesterday. A trapper later caught and killed the alligator, as is standard practice after an attack on humans. The Australian crocodile who grabbed a French fisherman's head in its jaws before being beaten back, however, is still at large.

An eight-foot long alligator swims through the waters of the Florida Everglades.
An eight-foot long alligator swims through the waters of the Florida Everglades.   (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
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