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ALLIGATOR ATTACK: Nine-year-old Florida boy fights off alligator - and lives to tell the tale

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
8/11/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (

By says he will never swim in Lake Tohopekaliga ever again

Nine-year-old Florida boy James Barney, Jr. feels lucky to be alive today. He's recovering in the hospital after fighting off a nine-foot, 400-pound alligator with his bare hands. Surprisingly, James only suffered superficial wounds in the attack. He says he wants to keep one of the alligator's teeth, removed from his body to wear on a necklace!

The boy's father James Barney, Sr., said his son often swims in the lake, but when asked if he'll be doing so ever again, he told the Orlando Sentinel, 'Negative.'

The boy's father James Barney, Sr., said his son often swims in the lake, but when asked if he'll be doing so ever again, he told the Orlando Sentinel, "Negative."


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (
8/11/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Alligator, Florida, boy, attack

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Speaking calmly and eloquently about his ordeal from hospital, James related his harrowing tale with a teddy bear by his side.

James told reporters how it was a hot, sunny day. He parked his bike and jumped into Lake Tohopekaliga, which is a lake that people are forbidden to swim in, when he felt something brush against his leg.

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Nine-year-old James Barney, Jr is recovering after fighting off a 400lb alligator with his bare hand

Nine-year-old James Barney, Jr is recovering after fighting off a 400lb alligator with his bare hands.

"It really amazed me what happened.  At first, I thought someone was just playing with me, and I didn't know what happened," James said.

"I reached down to grab it, and I felt its jaw, I felt its teeth, and I didn't know what to do, so I immediately reacted and hit it a couple times. And I had enough strength to pry its jaw open."

James described how he managed to hold the animal

James described how he managed to hold the animal's jaw open long enough to slide free and swim for shore.

The boy pulled the alligator's powerful jaws open long enough to slide out and swim for sure. Witnesses say that James surfaced, screaming that he'd been bitten by an alligator, when they called 911.

"There was a big alligator, about five feet away from him," one caller said. "He was crawling up the shore, screaming and crying and gator bites all over his back."

He was airlifted to hospital where doctors found he had suffered three superficial bites and about 30 teeth marks as well as scratches from the gator's claws.

The boy

The boy's father said James often jumps into the lake (where it's forbidden to swim) to cool off - but won't ever do it again.

Finding a tooth in one of the little boy's wounds, James says "I want to put it on a necklace so that I can tell all my friends."

Fish and wildlife officials have taken the tooth to help them find the alligator. James Barney, Jr. is hopeful he'll get it back.

The boy's father James Barney, Sr., said his son often swims in the lake, but when asked if he'll be doing so ever again, he told the Orlando Sentinel, "Negative."


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