Animal Trainer Saved by Bystander After Alligator Attacks Her During Kids Birthday Party
An animal trainer was saved by a Good Samaritan on Sunday after an alligator clamped onto her hand.
Scales and Tails in Salt Lake City hosted a 5-year-old's birthday party over the weekend, KUTV reported, and trainer Lindsay Bull was attacked during a routine feeding of an 8 ½ foot male alligator, video shows.
Before Bull began the feeding, she noticed the reptile named Darth Gator was being aggressive, she told KSL.
Bull pushed Darth Gator back, "something I've done lots of times before," she told the outlet. However, this time, the reptile latched onto her hand and "really bit down."
Video shows the animal trainer leap into the enclosure to prevent the alligator from pulling at her arm, and wrap her legs around him in an attempt to subdue him.
Watching on, a Good Samaritan, identified as Donnie Wiseman, is heard asking Bull if he could help, to which she replied, "If you can get on his back, go on his back." The trainer later told the NBC affiliate she only allowed Wiseman to enter because he said he had worked with an 18-foot python before.
The onlooker quickly jumped on Darth Gator's back and after a minute, Bull was able to free her hand and another Good Samaritan, identified as Todd Christopher, pulled her out of the enclosure.
With careful instruction, Wiseman was able to safely exit as well.
Bull told KSL, "What happened was an accident. I'm so much more to blame than Darth Gator," adding that the animal is not a "mindless killing machine."
Scales and Tails owner, Shane Richins, echoed "I hope no one thinks it's a good idea to just run out and hop on a gator because they saw it, but they probably saved her arm and possibly her life by running in and stabilizing him so he couldn't keep rolling on her, and then they just held him still until he relaxed and let her go."
"We never expect someone to jump in like that, but we're super grateful they did," Richins said.
On Facebook, the family-run business wrote, "We want to send a huge shoutout to Donnie Wiseman and Todd & Amy Christopher! We want to thank them for their heroism."
"Working with some of these animals has inherent risks that we as the staff accept," the post continued. "Yesterday, the sort of event that we hope never happens happened. One of our gator handlers got bitten by our large alligator and things took a bad turn. These gentleman could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator. Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs."
Scales and Tales also added that Todd's wife, Amy Christopher, used her nursing background to begin first aid as the trainer waited for ambulatory care.
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On Monday, Bull shared an update via the Scales and Tails Facebook page,writing, "I got lucky to land in a hospital that employs what has to be the best orthopedic surgeon in Utah. He was able to improvise and come up with a solution that should result in full use of my hand. I can't explain the level of admiration I have for that man."
She continued, "I'm being treated aggressively with antibiotics, which I'm thankful the Infectious Disease staff here were prepared to do."
"Lastly, I've had the most wonderful nursing staff that have made me feel safe and comfortable since I got here," Bull wrote. "I definitely want to thank everyone that has reached out and for doing so, as well; it's made recovery feel so much more manageable! Thank you!"