- Carsten Keiffer was hunting alligators with friends on Lake Jesup in Florida when a 12-foot reptile leaped into the air and latched onto his arm
- A friend managed to stick a rod in alligator's mouth to free Keiffer's arm
- His injury was reported as a partial amputation, but doctors managed to save Keiffer's arm and restore sensation on it
- He has been in a hospital for a week undergoing three surgeries
A Florida fire department paramedic has narrowly escaped losing his arm after being bitten by a hulking alligator that had jumped into his boat during a hunting trip.
Cartsen Kieffer, a married father-of-two who serves as a liutenant paramedic with the Tavares Fire Department, was hunting alligators with two friends on Lake Jesup last Thursday evening when one of the reptiles attacked him.
'We saw the big gator laying up in the middle of the canal,' Kieffer told ClickOrlando from his hospital bed.
Keiffer estimated that the alligator measured about 12 feet in length. He and the other hunters caught the reptile by a snatch line and inserted two additional harpoons into the animal before grabbing more line to raise it to the surface.
'Unfortunately, since we were so shallow, he was able to push off the bottom and launch himself into the boat and that’s where he got a hold of my arm,' Keiffer recounted. 'Once I felt him get a hold of my arm, and just the pressure and the weight of him, it was just unreal.'
According to an incident report from the Seminole County Sheriff's Office cited by WFTV, the alligator latched onto Keiffer's right arm 'and began to spin.'
His paramedic friend was able to stick a rod in the predator's mouth to pry its jaws open in an effort to stop the alligator from ripping Keiffer's arm off, or even pulling him underwater.
Keiffer was then able to wrench his arm out of the alligator's maw, after which his friends cut the snatch lines, releasing the animal.
One of the hunters used his belt as a tourniquet to stop Keiffer's bleeding and then called 911 to report the alligator attack, describing his fellow hunter's injury as a partial amputation in the middle of the forearm.
But doctors have managed to save Keiffer's arm and he has since regained feeling in his fingers.
According to a Facebook update posted earlier this week, Keiffer has undergone three surgeries over the past week to complete bone and skin grafts to repair damage to his arm.
The father-of-two praised the actions of his friends, writing that if it were not for them, 'I would not have been here to day [sic].'
WESH reported that the Florida Wildlife Commission has hired a trapper to catch the alligator, which remains at large.
Keiffer, an avid hunter and fisherman, told ClickOrlando he is likely done with harvesting alligators.
'Even if I wanted to, I don’t think my wife would allow it. So, you know I’m a smart husband, so I know when to pick my battles and that’s probably not one I need to take,' he quipped,