July 11, 2012
In less than one week's time two Florida teens found themselves in the jaws of two massive alligators. The attacks were four days and 300 hundred miles apart.
It was a typical summer's day for 71 year old Billy Ezell and his 15 year old grandson Kaleb.
They loaded up the boat to go spear fishing and headed to a grassy island five miles off the coast of Keaton Beach. An hour later the day turned from typical to atypical.
Said Kaleb, "I didn't ever expect to have any encounters with an alligator."
Billy was in the boat; Kaleb was 30 feet away when all of a sudden, as Kaleb Towles reported: "He came from my left side and bit me across my chest."
"I got the boat cranked and went and got the boat between Kaleb and the gator" said Billy.
Kaleb swung his elbow and his spear gun. The alligator let go.
Said Kaleb: "…Soon as I felt the pressure, I raised my elbow and he got off.”
They killed the gator and counted their blessings.
Kaleb was fortunate to escape without losing life or limb. A few days after the attack, about three hundred miles south of here, another Florida teen was attacked. He wasn't so luck.
His name is also Kaleb, but the 17 year old goes by Fred. The gator bit off part of his right arm before he was able to break free.
Billy Ezrell and Kaleb Towles were shocked:
"It just made me think about how it could've been me as well, and how all these people need to think about what can happen around these gators" said Kaleb.
Kaleb’s Grandpa, Billy Ezrell was also reminiscent. "I wish that Kaleb had a speargun in his hand like my Kaleb did. It might've made a difference."
The bite marks on Kaleb's chest and shoulder are already healing and he has a new nickname... 'Gator Boy.'
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission is warning swimmers. They say gator attacks are more common during the warm weather months because an alligator's metabolism is boosted in the summer, meaning they are eating a lot more than in the winter when the reptiles tend to be less active.