Gator Attacks 6-Year-Old: How Did Joey Welch Survive The Attack?

By iScienceTimes Staff on April 22, 2013 5:38 PM EDT

Gator attacks 6-year-old
A gator attacks a 6-year-old boy in Florida, who sustained only minor injuries after his father rushed to his rescue his son. He was able to free the child from the jaws of the 8-foot-long Florida alligator. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A gator attacks a 6-year-old boy in Florida, and miraculously the boy escapes with only minor injuries.

Potins News reports that 6-year-old Joey Welch was playing in the water at Boynton Beach, a city in Palm Beach County, on Friday when an alligator chomped down on his arm.

The boy's father told local news channel WSVN that he ran into the waist-deep water after his son, grabbing his child around the chest.

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"I didn't want to play tug-of-war with the crocodile," he said. "[I was] punching the alligator on the top of the head as hard as I could."

That's when another "good Samaritan" came over to Welch and his father and kicked the alligator in the stomach.

"Eventually the alligator did release," Welch's father told local news channel WSVN.

"Why my son has an arm today? ... It's a miracle," Welch's mother said.

The boy had only minor injuries, showing off his bruises for the camera.

According to National Geographic, the American alligator, which was once on the brink of extinction, is now thriving in the swamps and wetlands of the southeastern U.S.. The American alligator is found primarily in Florida and Louisiana, and they live almost exclusively in freshwater rivers, swamps and lakes.

Male alligators reach lengths of 10 to 15 feet and can weigh 1,000 pounds. They are one of the fiercest predators in the U.S., and while their diet consists mainly of fish, turtles and small mammals, they have been known to devour humans as well.

According to North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the number of encounters with alligators has increased over the years, as the human population encroaches on alligator habitat. This puts alligators and humans at odds, and makes the likelihood of an attack even greater.

Alligator attacks are known to be deadly. In 2009, a 12-year-old boy in central Florida was killed when a 10-foot alligator grabbed the boy and pulled him under the water for 25 minutes. CBS News reports that the boy was swimming in the Dead River when the attack occurred. Onlookers witnessed the horrific incident, and said the alligator swam off with the boy in his jaws. Authorities later recovered the body, but the boy was pronounced dead soon after.

Read more from iScience Times:

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Man Attacked By Shark In Australia; Watch Alan Saunders Survive Near-Lethal Encounter [VIDEO]

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