Firefighter is Mauled by Alligator but Survives Attack

Juan Carlos La Verde, 34, was preparing for an athletic competition when he was brutally savaged by the beast in Lake Thonotosassa.

The U.S. Air Force veteran was left with severe injuries to his head and face and had to undergo a six-hour long surgery to repair his skull and jaw.

Juan, who serves as a firefighter and paramedic with Oldsmar Fire Rescue, was swimming on August 3 when the alligator struck.

The beast ripped his face – but despite his shocking injuries, Juan narrowly managed to escape its jaws.

He then frantically swam ashore and called the sheriff’s office for help.

He was rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where spent more than a week in the ICU.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission sent a trapper to the lake and launched an investigation.

Juan’s pal Kenney Ceron, who started a GoFundMe page for him, said the firefighter was discharged yesterday – but still faces another round of surgery.

He wrote: “He will need at least one surgery in the future to replace the bone in his brain that they had to remove.

“He will also get his wires cut in a couple of weeks.

“I still can’t believe that in just eight days he is out but that is just a true testament to God and how strong he is and when he wants something, he sets his mind on achieving it.

“We have a long road ahead but thanks to our family, friends and everyone who has supported us in one way or another he will get through this.”

Kenney said Juan, who is married, had always “dedicated his entire life to helping others” and has been involved in several competitions to raise money for charity.

Juan Carlos La Verde and Wife

His pal said Juan was training for a race for his own organisation Defeat X and filming a promotional video when he was attacked

It comes after a heartbreaking 911 call revealed an elderly man’s desperate rescue attempt after a woman was killed by two alligators.

The 70-year-old pensioner risked his own life to save the woman who fell into a canal near a golf course in Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission identified the victim as 80-year-old Rose Marie Wiegand.

A 911 call seen by ABC7 shows that the man was playing the 6th hole at Boca Royale Golf and Country Club when he saw Wiegand fall in and tried to pull her out.

He then climbed ashore and called 911 pleading for help and told dispatch: “I just couldn’t get to her. I tried.”

He told operators he thought Wiegand had been trimming weeds around the water when the attack occurred and claimed he didn’t initially see any alligators.

Original Article

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