Dangerous gator lurks Lake Osborne - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Dangerous gator lurks Lake Osborne

Raymundo Velasco recovering at Delray Medical Center. Raymundo Velasco recovering at Delray Medical Center.

By Ashley Glass email and Juan Calos Fanjul email
Posted by Rachel Leigh email

LAKE WORTH, FL (WFLX) - The search for a vicious gator that attacked a man continues. The man is recovering, but we've found proof why the alligator may be more dangerous than normal.

Update: THU 9 AM: We will learn a lot more about the man, who almost lost his hand to a giant gator, as we expect to talk to him and his doctors Thursday. At the same time, the hunt for that beast resumes Thursday.

Trappers searching Lake Osborne say its tough finding this gator because cooler weather keeps them less active. But, they did find some clues: several fish carcasses near the bank. They appear to be cleaned by a fisherman, and they may be the reason why the gator attacked.

"There needs to be some thinning out especially in the areas where there's people. There's people in the lake all the time," said concerned neighbor David Muth.

Trappers should head back to Lake Osborne later Thursday.

Meanwhile, we're told the victim, Raymundo Velasco, lost part of his index finger on his left hand and the tip of his thumb. Other than that, doctors say, he's recovering well.

He will hold a news conference at the Delray Medical Center Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m.

Previously: The search is on for vicious gator after a county worker was attacked. He remains hospitalized Wednesday morning. On Tuesday he was pulled into Lake Osborne and almost lost his hand.

Trappers spent several hours Tuesday, combing through Lake Osborne, looking for an alligator that attacked a man.

It was a life and death struggle for the Lake Worth resident, but he survived to tell his story. "If I would have known if the alligator was there, I wouldn't have gotten close."

Just hours after his potentially fatal encounter with an alligator on Lake Osborne, 49-year-old Raymundo Velasco, heavily sedated at the hospital, tells us about his horrifying day.

The private contractor for Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation was picking up trash along the lake when he reached into the water. At the same time, an 8 to 10 foot alligator came out of the murky depths and bit down on his left hand.

The force of the attack sending him right into the water. "I only felt what seemed like spikes in my hand and noticed my fingers dangling."

Somehow, after fighting for his life with the beast, he was able to break free with his mangled hand and make it back to shore where walkers helped him and called 911.

Anneli Kubeler described, "I just told him to stay there. He looked like he had been crying. I think he was in shock really. He didn't know what to do."

Trappers spent much of the afternoon scouring Lake Osborne trying to trap the gator but were unsuccessful. It's an area with plenty of gator, but neighbors, like Jim Menor, have never seen anything like this before.

"Astounding, I've never heard of an alligator attack anybody in the 40 some years I've been here."

Velasco is at Delray Medical Center in stable condition. It appears he won't loose his finger, but it's unclear if he'll regain motion.

When we asked the gator trapper why would a gator attack, he said, probably because people have been feeding him, and he's no longer afraid of humans.

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