9-foot Alligator Bites Off Captin’s Hand

EVERGLADES CITY, Fla. (AP) _ Wildlife officials say a southwest Florida airboat captain was giving an Indiana family a tour of the Everglades when a 9-foot alligator bit off his left hand.

Judy Chroniak-Hatt was on the boat with two other women and two young children.

She tells Fort Myers television station WBBH (http://bit.ly/OwvbfN ) that Capt. Wallace Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand at the water’s surface when the alligator attacked.

The manager of Captain Doug’s Everglades Tours tells the Naples Daily News (http://bit.ly/K4sdv2 ) that the passengers weren’t injured.

Glenn Smith says the company doesn’t condone feeding alligators.

A criminal investigation is pending. Feeding alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.

Wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the alligator after Tuesday’s attack.

Weatherholt’s hand was retrieved from the animal’s stomach.