A child’s birthday party took a shocking turn when alligator attacked an animal handler who was saved by two brave bystanders who jumped in to help her.
The startling incident unfolded at Scales and Tails on Saturday in West Valley City, Utah.
As children looked on, the alligator trainer tried to order an alligator back into its enclosure when the animal snapped its jaws on her hand. The gator then dragged her into the enclosure while spinning her into the water.
At that point a bystander jumped into the enclosure to help the woman.
The man, identified as Donnie Wiseman, was able to pin the alligator down and force its mouth open so that Todd Christopher, another guest, could pull the trainer out of the animal enclosure.
Wiseman was then able to jump off the gator and out of the enclosure before the animal could turn around and attack him as well.
The trainer was given medical assistance by Amy Christopher, another guest who had nursing experience, before emergency responders arrived. She was taken to a hospital for treatment of her injuries.
A statement from the Facebook page of the petting zoo said that the quick thinking of the bystanders probably saved the “life and limbs” of the trainer.
“Working with some of these animals has inherent risks that we as the staff accept. Yesterday, the sort of event that we hope never happens happened,” read the post.
“These gentleman could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation, of their own volition, and helped secure the alligator,” the post continued.
The trainer is expected to make a full recovery.