Gator Bites Off Man's Arm

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Posted by on September 17, 2007 at 17:53:06:

In Reply to: Alligator bites off snorkeler's arm posted by Max Bottomtime on September 17, 2007 at 17:34:47:

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. (AP) A 59-year-old man's arm was bitten off by an alligator as he snorkeled in a South Carolina lake, but doctors were unable to reattach it.

Bill Hedden, of Summerville, was bitten by an 11-foot, 10-inch alligator on Sunday afternoon in Lake Moultrie.

Hedden was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, which declined Monday to release any information on his condition or treatment, citing the family's request for privacy. He was listed in critical condition Sunday.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported that a family member said doctors were unable to reattach the arm, but that Hedden was nevertheless in good spirits.

"The first order of Bill's care has been to stop the bleeding and save his life. His surgeons and health care team are determining the next steps in his care at this time," the family said in a statement Monday. "We are in good spirits and thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers."

Authorities say Hedden, a retired master chief with the U.S. Navy, was snorkeling at the Short Stay Navy Outdoor Recreation Area when the 550-pound alligator tore his arm from his shoulder.

Hedden stumbled into a party of picnickers with his arm missing and blood gushing from his wound. Five nurses were among those at the gathering and put ice on his wound and kept him awake until paramedics could arrive.

His arm was retrieved from the alligator's belly after wildlife officers shot the animal. The limb was then rushed to the hospital in an ice cooler with a police escort.

There have been no confirmed deaths in South Carolina involving an alligator attack, state wildlife officials said.

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