He fights off beast in lake

He fights off beast in lake
James described how he managed to hold the animal's jaw open long enough to slide free and swim for shore.

A NINE-YEAR-OLD US boy fought a 180kg, 2.7m-long alligator in Florida - and lived to tell the tale.

James Barney Junior is now recovering at the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando.

He suffered three bites - mostly on his buttocks - and about 30 teeth marks and claw scratches on his stomach, back and legs from last week's incident, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

The eloquent boy said it was a hot day and he decided to ditch his bicycle and jump into Lake Tohopekaliga, though swimming is forbidden there, reported ABC News.

In the water he felt something brush against his leg and bite it.

"At first, I thought someone was just playing with me and I didn't know what happened," he told the TV channel.

"I reached down to grab it and I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth, and I didn't know what to do, so I immediately reacted and hit it a couple of times. And I had enough strength to pry its jaw open."

The boy said he started hitting the alligator as hard as he could. He managed to slip out of its grip and swam back to shore while yelling for help.

"Some people came over and pulled me up," James said.

His friend, who was on the pier when the alligator attacked, quickly called 911.

"My friend got bit by an alligator at the lakefront," the caller exclaimed to a dispatcher as James was pulled ashore, crying and bleeding.

Dr Ross Morgan, the paediatric surgeon who treated James, said the alligator's teeth marks could be clearly seen on the boy's back when he was brought into the emergency room, reported the Sentinel.

"He's got quite a few bites as if the alligator bit him several times. It looked like it was trying to get a hold on him," said Dr Morgan.

Doctors also found an alligator's tooth embedded in one of the boy's wounds. James said he wanted to keep it as a souvenir to show off.

The boy's father, Mr James Barney Senior, when asked if his son will be swimming in that lake ever again, told the newspaper: "Negative."

This article was first published on August 13, 2014.
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