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Wildlife official: Alligator bit off elderly woman’s arm

Posted at 11:38 PM, Sep 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-26 23:38:48-04

LEESBURG, FL (WKMG) -  Wildlife officials believe they have found the alligator that bit off an 84-year-old woman's arm Wednesday.

Delmas Zickefoose noticed his neighbor, 84-year-old Carol Hough, splashing in the middle of a canal between their homes hollering for help around 7 a.m.

"I happened to walk outside on my patio and happened to see her in the water flailing in the water," said Zickefoose. "I went straight into the water and brought her to the shore. At that point I noticed her arm gone."

At first, Zickefoose said he did not realize what had happened to his neighbor, but then she mentioned  "gator."

"She did not seem to be in any pain…  she was mellowed [and] just thankful I was holding her," he said.

As paramedics airlifted Hough to the hospital, wildlife officers quickly tried to find the alligator in hopes of locating her missing arm, so it could be reattached.

For nearly 10 hours, the gator kept out of view, but trappers located the 7-and-a-half foot reptile around 4:30 p.m. and carried it away.  The creature showed absolutely no fear of humans as gator trappers hauled it in Wednesday.

Zickefoose was taken aback by the gator's size.

"It makes me a little wiser," said Zickefoose. "I'm not going to be in the canal as much as I have been in the past."