NewsNational News


VIDEO: Gator attacks trainer at county fair

Posted at 8:23 PM, Aug 10, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-10 20:23:13-04

**WARNING** This video may be considered disturbing by some viewers

by Lindsay Buckingham

BEREA, Ohio — An animal exhibit at the Cuyahoga County Fair has been canceled after a demonstration went horribly wrong Thursday night.

Daniel Beck, a trainer with Kachunga & the Alligator Show, was attacked by one of the reptiles when he attempted to show the audience the sensitivity of the gator’s mouth.

A FOX 8 viewer captured the terrifying moments on camera.

The video shows Beck successfully completing the first demonstration by placing his hand inside the gator’s mouth before its jaws snap shut. But when he tries a second stunt, the gator charges, causing Beck to slip and fall. That’s when the animal clamps down on his arm.

As screams from horrified fairgoers erupt from the crowd, Beck’s partner, Albert Lucas, rushes to help him, desperately trying to get the animal to open his jaws by tapping it on the snout. When that method fails, Lucas grabs a bar, which eventually forces the gator to release its grip.

The injured Beck then rushes off the stage while Lucas addresses the botched stunt : “Well folks, these things happen. Dan’s going to get some medical care. We’ll be back tomorrow.”

Cuyahoga County Fair President Tim Fowler said Beck was taken to Southwest General Health Center, where he was treated and released.

Lucas told Fox 8 News reporter Lorrie Taylor that Beck received several stitches, and was a little sore, but otherwise doing well.

And in case people are wondering, the trainers blame themselves, not the alligator.

“The animal will not be destroyed. It wasn’t his fault,” Lucas said.

After Fowler consulted with safety officials, the exhibit was scrapped.

A statement released Friday afternoon on behalf of the Cuyahoga County Fair read:

“Due to circumstances beyond our control and based upon current circumstances associated with animal exhibits, the Fair Board is cooperation with safety officials has determined that the alligator show is unable to continue at this week’s Fair.  The Fair Board has and will continue to monitor all associated safety risks associated with exhibits and displays. As it does every year, the Fair Board continues to do its best to provide a safe and enjoyable atmosphere for all fairgoers, exhibitors and employees.  Your understanding of this decision made by the Fair Board in the best interest of the public is appreciated. Also due to circumstances beyond our control is the cancellation of the of the BeatleFest Show in the Grandstand for Friday Evening.”

Fowler says the incident should not deter the public from going to the fair, saying that his staff works “very hard to provide a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Further details were not immediately released.

Stick with Fox 8 News and for updates as they become available.

*Mobile Users: Click here for the video