A Florida teenager survived an incredibly scary encounter with an 11-foot alligator on Friday. Jordan Henderson was floating on a raft in the Ocala National Forest near Forest Service Road near Alexander Springs, when she noticed an aggressive alligator. Jordan was smart enough to grab hold onto an overhanging tree branch. But when the alligator didn’t leave and instead watched her from the water, family members called 911 for help, detailed the Orlando Sentinel.
The mom told the dispatcher that “My daughter’s stuck in a frickin’ tree and there’s gators surrounding her!… Oh my God! Please hurry! Please hurry!”
And her panic was understandable, as it took all of the teen’s strength to hang onto the tree branch for dear life.
Luckily, Deputy Mitch Blackmon arrived before Jordan had lost her grip on the tree. However, she was screaming and saying she was tired. By then, it had been almost an hour. The deputy recounted what he saw when he arrived.
“My presence failed to scare the alligator away, and it began encroaching on my area at which time I fired one single 223 round from my Bushmaster AR15 killing the alligator.
The gator was later confirmed dead by a county biologist. It’s believed that the alligator was acting extra aggressive and territorial because July marks the end of the alligator mating season.
Recently in Florida, a woman was killed by a 12-foot alligator at Silver Lakes Rotary Park. Someone noticed that she was at the park with her three dogs, but later only saw two dogs by her car while another dog was hanging out by the water. The man told police that he believed “an alligator got this lady,” which unfortunately turned out to be true.
The death of Shizuka Matsuki shook up local residents, who also frequented the park to walk their dogs. One man, Edwin Gomez, said that “The gator lurking in one of the lakes is well known to regulars. When I sit in the pavilion, I tell people there’s a gator they say, ‘OK, this is Florida’… Everybody walks their dogs. We go there all the time,” according to CBS News.
And indeed for Floridians, the sight of alligators on sidewalks, driveways, garages, and pools is not unheard of during mating season. While experts advise people to stay away from gators and to not disturb them, the latest spate of gator incidents remind residents that encounters with gators can be unpredictable and deadly.