Crocodile Attack Leaves American Surfer Injured, Owes Life To Friend Who ‘Bare Handedly’ Fought Off The Animal

A crocodile attack in Costa Rica has left an American surfer injured in the country, NY Daily News reports. The incident reportedly happened at a popular beach resort in Costa Rica on Friday. The man, whose identity was not revealed by authorities, was initially believed to be a resident of Arizona. Later, it was announced that he was from Colorado. The man was finally identified as 59-year-old Jon Becker.

According to eyewitnesses, Becker was rescued by one of his friends who was near him when the crocodile attack happened. The friend reportedly fought off the animal with his bare hands. The surfer was taken to a nearby hospital where his condition was listed to be serious but stable. Initially, the extent of his injuries were not known. Newer reports, however, say that a part of his right ankle was amputated. He had also suffered injuries to his calf muscles.

Meanwhile, Pat McNulty, a trained lifeguard in the beach town of Tamarindo where the incident occurred, said that he witnessed the attack from a distance. McNulty, who also happens to be a consultant, added that the man was crossing a river when the crocodile attacked him. He described the attack as “vicious” and said that it was a miracle that the victim survived.

“It was a vicious attack, and he was bitten several times in the leg as well as the head. “They were able to get him free, swim him to safety and then trained lifeguards responded… and we administered first aid and called an ambulance.”

McNulty said he soon rushed to help the victim and helped him to a hospital in the city of Liberia where the man underwent emergency surgery.

“His friend saved his life… and then we the lifeguards helped keep him alive. It was a very traumatic scene, and all individuals attending him did a tremendous job.” McNulty further added.

In another interview with local media houses, McNulty revealed that he did know the victim personally. This was because in the small town of Tamarindo, almost everybody knows each other. He added that the victim was from Colorado who also owned a home in Costa Rica. The victim’s family members are reportedly on their way to meet him at the hospital. The news of the crocodile attack has been confirmed by staff members from the U.S.Embassy in Costa Rica. All possible help would be given to the victim, consular officers told reporters. The name of the victim was initially withheld by the embassy staff citing privacy considerations.

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Meanwhile, local citizens are worried about the crocodile attack affecting the tourism prospects in the region. The incident also prompted a meeting between senior officials from the wildlife and tourism departments. Elected representatives were also a part of the meeting in which authorities said efforts would be made to relocate the crocodiles to another location. As a temporary measure, warning signs will be posted in areas where crocodiles are known to live. This, authorities hope, will help keep people safe for the time being.

This is not the first time a crocodile attack was reported from the region. A few months ago, another man was bitten by a crocodile in the same area where the recent attack happened. However, since the crocodile was not a fully grown adult, the man did not face serious injuries. McNulty, however, believes that crocodile attacks happen because humans are encroaching into their territory and not vice-versa. He says,

“We live in a country where there’s large crocodiles, and people take for granted that when you go into a river that you’re safe. But the fact of the matter is that you need to be aware of your environment…. We’re in their world.”

[Photo by Fernando Antonio/AP Images]