The 10-year-old girl who fought off an alligator that attacked her while she was swimming in Orlando, Florida, is speaking out after the harrowing incident.
“I was in the water and there was a mean nine-foot gator biting my leg,” Juliana Ossa told Inside Edition about the attack on Saturday. “The alligator grabbed my leg, I tried hitting it to release me but it didn’t work.”
Ossa was sitting in 2-foot-deep water in a Lake Mary Jane designated swimming area at Moss Park in Orlando, Florida, accompanied by four family members. She was bitten on her calf and knee by the 8-foot, 9-inch reptile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports.
The young girl said she punched the alligator in the nose and then shoved two of her fingers into the animal’s nostrils and pried his mouth open, according to Inside Edition.
Ossa said her quick-thinking is thanks to life-saving lessons she learned at a nearby alligator park, Gatorland.
“I used what they taught me at Gatorland, so I put my two fingers up its nostrils and it couldn’t breath and had to breath from its mouth and then let my leg out,” she said. “The gator didn’t do anything because he was too busy biting my leg and too busy with his claws in the sand. He didn’t have any attack moves to take out my fingers.”
Ossa received stitches to her leg and is recovering.
Orlando Sentinel reports that the alligator was trapped after the incident, and that the park’s waterfront section will remain closed throughout this week for “an abundance of caution,” according to manager of Orange County Parks and Recreation Matt Suedmeyer.
Following the June tragedy, FWC officials said that alligator attacks are “a very rare occurrence in Florida.”
“FWC works diligently to keep Floridians and our visitors safe and informed on what to do if they spot a potentially dangerous alligator,” they said in a statement.
The animal responsible for the attack on Lane, who had been vacationing with his family from Nebraska, was euthanized following the incident.
“After the tragic loss of our beloved 2-year-old son, Lane Thomas, we have created the Lane Thomas Foundation to honor his memory,” read a subsequent statement from Lane’s parents, Melissa and Matt Graves.
“Losing Lane has broken our hearts in the worst possible way. While there is no way to mend our hearts, we can do good work in his honor.”