Alligator That Bit Off Florida Woman’s Arm Euthanized, Victim Identified As College Professor

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has confirmed that a large alligator that bit off a Florida woman’s arm above the elbow has been captured and euthanized. The victim was identified as a 37-year-old professor that teaches Spanish at Rollins College.

ABC News reports that professor Rachael Lilienthal was swimming in a popular tourist destination in Wekiva River. The Rollins College Spanish lecturer was at the location near Wekiva Island with friends when the group decided to swim to a more secluded area of the river.

It was noted that numerous signs at Wekiva Island warn of alligators in the water. Kayakers in the area say they also warned the woman of alligators they saw in the water along the bank, but she swam anyway. Moments later, kayakers say they saw a jaw chomp down on the woman’s arm, dragging her underwater.

“We see the jaws just chomp down on her arm, and it starts spinning around, pulls her underwater, goes back up. She’s just screaming. Her arm was gone.”

Authorities confirmed with the Orlando Sentinel that the woman’s arm was bitten off above the elbow. Lilienthal was sent to Orlando Regional Medical Center for treatment; however, her condition is still unknown. A spokesperson for the Rollins College confirmed that the woman was a teacher, but says that she is requesting privacy at this time and would provide no further details on the accident.

Meanwhile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has confirmed that the alligator responsible for the attack on Lilienthal has been captured and euthanized by hunters. Despite initial reports and witnesses claiming the alligator was 9 to 10 feet long, the alligator was reported in as 8 feet and 9 inches long. The creature weighed an astonishing 300 to 350 pounds. Officials noted that the euthanization took place at approximately 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

What do you think about the alligator being euthanized following the attack? Was there a valid reason to euthanize the animal considering the woman was swimming in waters known to house alligators? With the alligator being put to death following the incident, should swimming be prohibited in the river to protect both swimmers and the alligators?

[Image Credit: Getty Images/ Sam Greenwood]