Woman Loses Part of Her Arm in Central Florida Alligator Attack

A woman in central Florida lost part of her arm Saturday afternoon when an alligator attacked her in a river.

The attack happened in the Wekiva River north of Orlando around 3:30 p.m., at a time when many people were swimming nearby, NBC News reported.

Seminole County Fire Rescue said 37-year-old Rachael Lilienthal was swimming upstream away from a crowded beach area when she felt something grab her arm and pull her under the water. Her right arm was severed above the elbow, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesperson Karen Parker said.

Kayakers nearby heard the woman call for help. One kayaker struck the alligator with a paddle, causing the animal to release Lilienthal, Parker said. The two kayakers then brought her to shore.

"It was very scary," a witness told NBC affiliate WESH. "Her arm was gone and there was blood everywhere.

Paramedics rushed the woman to the trauma center at Orlando Regional Medical Center where she underwent surgery, WESH reported.

FWC officials searched throughout the evening for the alligator responsible for the attack. It was captured and killed just after midnight.

Alligator attacks have happened in the Wekiva River before, according to FWC officials.

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