Rachael Lilienthal is the survivor of a Florida alligator attack. Thanks to fellow kayakers, the Orlando teacher barely survived after an alligator bit off her arm completely.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, witnesses say “they saw the woman swimming and yelled out to her to get out of the water as they had seen numerous alligators in the area along the bank. However, the kayakers say the woman kept swimming despite their warnings.” The description of the alligator attack was horrifying.
“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.”
According to My News 13, the 911 calls detailing the alligator attack were released recently. One witness said the woman’s bathing suit was ripped off and the alligator was spotted chewing on the blue cloth.
“It completely bit her arm off at the shoulder,” one caller told a 911 dispatcher.
Witness Casey Spencer says he and his girlfriend rushed to help Rachael Lilienthal when they realized what had happened.
“The gator is not moving, just looking at me. (Lilienthal’s) looking at me saying, ‘Please help me.’ My girlfriend is freaking out, asking everybody for help, so my initial response is to start hitting (the gator) with the paddle, trying to hit its eyes,” Spencer said.
Another one of the rescuers, Joshua Helwig, says he heard the woman’s scream.
“I just had this overwhelming sense that we had to help her and get her to shore,” Helwig said, according to WFTV. “It was almost instinct. When we heard it we knew we had to go over there. I looked down and that’s when I saw the water all around us was just red. That’s when I saw her arm had been bitten off right about here.”
But the alligator attack had done even more damage. The gator had bitten down multiple times, tearing into her back and abdomen. They put Lilienthal into a large canoe to prevent the kayaks from tipping over, fearing the alligator was still lurking nearby. The 911 call had the 911 dispatcher asking where the alligator was located, but the callers did not see the animal.
Lilienthal appeared panicked, but was not screaming. Instead, she lifted her own legs into the canoe and exclaimed, “I can’t believe I lost my arm.” But her rescuers also kept talking to her in order to make sure she did not pass out or go into shock.
Fortunately, the rescuers were able to rush the woman to Orlando Regional Medical Center, where she underwent surgery. Lilienthal is currently recovering from the alligator attack.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials hunted the alligator down and killed it. They confirmed it was the Florida gator involved in the attack by cutting open its stomach. They said the alligator was nearly nine feet long and weighed over 300 pounds.
[Image via Discovery]