September 18, 2007 in Nation/World

Gator bites off snorkler’s arm

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

MONCKS CORNER, S.C. – A 59-year-old man’s arm was bitten off by an alligator as he snorkeled in a South Carolina lake, and doctors were unable to reattach it.

Bill Hedden, of Summerville, was bitten by an 11-foot, 10-inch alligator on Sunday afternoon in Lake Moultrie.

Hedden was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, where he was listed in critical condition Sunday.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier reported that a family member said doctors were unable to reattach the arm.

Authorities say Hedden, a retired master chief with the U.S. Navy, was snorkeling at the Short Stay Navy Outdoor Recreation Area when the 550-pound alligator tore his arm from his shoulder.

Hedden stumbled into a party of picnickers with his arm missing and blood gushing from his wound. Five nurses were among those at the gathering and put ice on his wound and kept him awake until paramedics arrived.

His arm was retrieved from the alligator’s belly after wildlife officers shot the animal. The limb was rushed to the hospital in an ice cooler with a police escort.

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