As if high water and high winds didn’t wreak enough havoc during the storms in coastal Louisiana, but the nightmare of hungry alligators patrolling floodwaters was all too real for a 71-year-old man.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, rising waters from Lake Pontchartrain had cut off electricity and downed phone service in the area surrounding the man’s home.
According to NBC News, he was attacked by the gator just in front of his front porch steps on August 30th.
The man’s wife heard the commotion and went outside to see her husband being thrashed by a giant alligator. She was able to pull her husband from the shallow water and back onto the front steps, but he was missing an arm by that point. Her husband remained on the porch while she climbed into a small boat and went to seek help about a mile away.
When she got back, her husband was gone.
“When she… realized the severity of his injuries, she immediately got into her pirogue (boat) and went to higher ground, which was approximately a mile away, to get help.
When she returned, her husband was no longer lying on the steps.”
Authorities quickly set up a series of traps in the area, hoping to catch the gator responsible. Earlier this week, one of the traps captured a 12-foot, 508-pound gator that seemed to match the size description for the attacking gator.
According to a statement from the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office, there were human remains inside of the gator’s stomach, an obvious indication that this was likely the gator responsible.
“The alligator was caught this morning by one of the traps and brought to a secure site to be searched.
Once the alligator was searched, it was discovered to have what appeared to be human remains inside its stomach.”
Authorities are now working on matching DNA samples to confirm that this was the right gator. Several agencies have assisted with the search for and capture of the gator, including wildlife officials, search and rescue teams, and volunteer gator hunters.
“This is a horrible tragedy, and my sincere condolences and sympathy goes to the family.
I know today’s findings does not bring their loved one back, but hopefully, this can bring them some sort of closure. I am very proud of the hard, non-stop work of my deputies and the other agencies who assisted, and I hope their persistence in finding this alligator will help the family with coping with their loss.”
It is the first fatal alligator attack of the year, and the 23rd in the last 20 years.