Little girl: 1, alligator: 0.
On Saturday, May 6, 10-year-old Juliana Ossa from Florida gave a hungry alligator quite the surprise. While Ossa swam in Florida’s Lake Mary, a nearly 9-foot alligator grabbed her leg in its mouth.
Ossa tried hitting the reptile to make it let go of her leg, but the alligator wouldn’t budge. Instead of panicking, though, the girl remembered something from a trip to a local theme park.
“I thought about what they taught me at Gatorland,” Ossa told WKMG-TV. “So I put my two fingers up its nostrils so it had to breathe from its mouth and it let my leg out.”
Wow! Not sure we’d be able t0 stay that calm when face-to-face with an alligator!
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Juliana was attacked in an area officially designated for swimmers. She stood in waist-high water about 30 feet from shore and 10 feet from her family.
‘I Was Scared At First’
Juliana’s step-uncle, Steven Rodriguez, grabbed her out of the water and got her safely to shore, according to NBC News. Lifeguards on duty at the park tended to her knee and thigh wounds until paramedics arrived. They transported her to Nemours Children’s Hospital. Doctors treated Juliana and released her to go home on Monday, May 8.
The paramedics marveled at how calm the girl stayed during the entire ordeal.
“She was a tough little girl,” said Kevin Brito, one of the paramedics who treated Juliana. “She commented that if something is going to attack her, she has to attack back.”
Juliana said she had the situation under control: “I was scared at first,” she told WESH-TV. “But I knew what to do.”
You can see in this video shared by NBC exactly how calm, cool and collected she stayed. Almost like another day at the park:
Gatorland Sends Get-Well Wishes
Upon hearing of the attack, Gatorland Orlando posted well wishes to Juliana on Facebook.
The park also took the opportunity to educate the public on alligator safety tips.
“She did exactly what anyone should do and that’s fight,” said Gatorland dean of gator wresting Tim Williams. “God bless her heart, we’re just so thankful.”