He was naked, on crack and in alligator's mouth
Carlos Mayid couldn't see Adrian Apgar being attacked by an alligator early Wednesday, but he could hear him. With his cellphone in hand...
The Orlando Sentinel
ORLANDO, Fla. — Carlos Mayid couldn't see Adrian Apgar being attacked by an alligator early Wednesday, but he could hear him.
With his cellphone in hand and a sheriff's operator on the line, Mayid left his home near Lake Parker, Fla., and walked down his street in the predawn darkness toward the screams of a man who was fighting for his life in the water.
In the recording of a dramatic 911 call released Thursday, Mayid is heard breathing heavily and walking through wet grass as Apgar's repeated cries grow louder. Finally, he got close enough to yell back.
"Hey. What's up? What do you need?" Mayid hollered.
"A gator's got me," Apgar replied, his voice faint in the background.
Mayid's call shortly after 4 a.m. sent four Polk County, Fla., deputies racing to the 2,150-acre lake just outside Lakeland, Fla., where they jumped into the water and wrenched Apgar's arm from the gator's mouth. The 45-year-old victim, who told authorities he'd passed out nude on the shore after smoking crack cocaine, was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.
Later Wednesday, state wildlife authorities trapped and killed a nearly 12-foot-long alligator thought to be the one that attacked Apgar.
Mayid's call was picked up by operator Josh Fulman.
"There's a guy screaming bloody murder over here, 'Help,' in front of the Moose Lodge," Mayid said. He could not be reached Thursday to elaborate on his experience.
"I can hear him from inside my house ... He's screaming, 'Help, help, help, help.' "
A dramatic back-and-forth followed, with Mayid serving as the middleman between victim and operator.
Fulman told Mayid that deputies were on the way, but there was little the two could do. Meanwhile, Apgar kept screaming.
Replying to a plea from Apgar that was inaudible on the tape, Mayid said, "I ain't going over there. I can't go in there anyway. ... I don't know how the hell they're going to get through."
Mayid ended up getting close enough to ask Apgar where the alligator had bitten him, yelling, "Help is on the way, help is on the way."
About five minutes into the nearly eight-minute call, the operator suggested Mayid tell Apgar to punch the alligator. "I don't know if it's true, but if you punch him in the nose ... it may let him go," Fulman said.
Mayid relayed the message and immediately came back with Apgar's response: "Too big."
Said Mayid, "He says he needs a gun."
Polk County deputies arrived about two minutes later and soon reached Apgar in the water. He was slumped over in the alligator's jaws in chest-deep water on the east side of Lake Parker.
After a tug-of-war with the gator, three deputies and their sergeant were able to rescue Apgar and carry him to shore. The rescue took about 20 minutes.
Apgar told the deputies he had been smoking crack cocaine and fell asleep on the shore when the alligator attacked him. The area includes a strip of land with a picnic table.
But local and state officials said Thursday they don't know if Apgar was on the land or already in the water when he was attacked.
Sheriff's officials have said Apgar, 45, suffered a broken right arm. His left arm was nearly severed, and he had bites to his buttocks and leg. He underwent surgery Wednesday afternoon at Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
A hospital spokeswoman said Apgar was alive Thursday, but a family member asked that his specific condition not be released and would not talk to reporters.
Gary Morse, spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said the 11-foot, 9-inch, 600-pound alligator trapped several hours after the attack had been euthanized, a necessary step to protect the public.
The alligator was "much larger" than average, Morse said.
Investigators aren't positive the captured alligator was the one that attacked Apgar, but they think it is the culprit because it is the only gator feeding in that area.
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