Bite victim describes battle with gator - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Bite victim describes battle with gator

By Chuck Weber email

DELRAY BEACH, FL (WFLX)-The man who nearly lost his hand to an alligator in Lake Worth this week, talked about his tangle with the animal and why he tried to go back to work, in spite of his injury.

Thursday afternoon in his hospital room at Delray Medical Center, Raymundo Velasquez explained how the gator grabbed the pole he was using to remove trash from Lake Osborne in John Prince Park. When the animal got the pole, Velasquez said he fell into the water.

"When I fell in the water, he grabbed me," said Velasquez, speaking in Spanish. "My ears were filling with water."

But Velasquez managed to break himself free from the gator he estimates at six feet long. He found his way back to shore.

And although he says it felt like a needle piercing his hand and saw his finger hanging behind the others, Velasquez put a plastic bag over his hand to stop the bleeding and resumed picking up trash.

"I was bleeding, but I wanted to get back to work," he explained. "It wasn't hurting me that much."

"You know possibly he could have been in shock," said Karen Dean, Velasquez' trauma nurse. "But from what I gather, he was more concerned with finishing his work appropriately. He just thought it wasn't much."

Two bystanders helped Velasquez get help. He did end up losing most of his index finger, and a pin holds together what's left of his thumb, but hospital staffers say he should regain function in his hand.

Velasquez also says he has yet to tell his wife and children back in Guatemala about the accident. He said he doesn't want to worry them.

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