MELBOURNE, Florida – A homeless man was attacked by an alligator while swimming in the river off U.S. 1 and Crane Creek in Melbourne. The incident occurred early Monday morning.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials are searching for the gator near Promenade Park. The alligator was last seen under a U.S. 1 overpass, a favorite fishing spot for the homeless community.
The man, who uses the street name “Ron Jon,” was bitten on the shoulder and suffered from deep puncture wounds, according to Melbourne police.
Cmdr. Dan Lynch of the Melbourne Police Department said the man was in the river as the alligator appeared out of nowhere and grabbed him. Coincidentally, police were already in the area conducting a training session when they heard screams coming from under the bridge overpass.
Lynch said police rushed to the scene and found the man conscious and in a lot of pain from the attack. There were significant gashes near his neck.
Paramedics arrived at the scene only minutes later and rushed him to Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne.
Several Florida Wildlife Commission officers are in boats still canvassing the river for the alligator. Although its size is unknown, several witnesses saw the head of the alligator and said it was quite large.
The homeless man’s condition is not known. Monday’s alligator attack is one of several in Florida this year.
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