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MOORE HAVEN, FL (WFLX) - A Florida teenager, attacked by an alligator, loses his arm but not his life nor his incredible spirit.
Laying in his hospital bed, the wounds and memories of the attack, are still fresh for 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale. "Whenever I saw the gator spinning was when I knew I was in trouble," recalled Langdale.
It happened in the muddy waters of the Caloosahatchee River, a place where Kaleb and his friends spend most of their summer. "We go there like every single day."
And Monday, like he often does, the teenager, known by his friends as Fred, was leading a group of friends on a swim across the river. That's when an 11-foot alligator suddenly surfaced.
"And it was going full speed towards him as fast as it could go on top of the water, and Fred just paced himself, and he put his arm up when the gator came," Gary Beck said.
Kaleb describes what happened next. "Well, I was trying to like hold on to him, so he couldn't' bite me, but he done a death throw and knocked me off. So I took my foot, and I kicked trying to like gain speed to go to the bank," said Kaleb. "And when I was swimming, like throwing my arms back and forth, this one, he got it. He done another death throw and broke all the bones. Everything in it -- like I just felt it's gone."
His left arm, below the elbow, was gone. Still, somehow, he made it to shore. "Whenever I got up to the bank, it was still bleeding a little bad, so I took my arm and put it in between my legs and squeezed to stop the bleeding," Kaleb explained.
Trappers captured the gator and recovered the teenager's arm, but it couldn't be reattached.
The 17-year-old, however, is able to put it all into perspective. "I'm just happy that I'm still alive; my buddies are still alive. I could care less about the arm."
Instead he's busy running hospital halls in his wheelchair, figuring out how he'll drive his four-wheeler, and when he'll be able to get back out on the water.