This past Tuesday six tourists in the Everglades got a little more than they bargained for when their airboat captain was feeding an alligator, and they witnessed it bite his hand off.
The airboat captain, 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt, also known as Captain Wally, worked for Captain Doug’s Everglades Tour. The tour company in Florida takes visitors on guided tours of the Everglades and as part of the tour some airboat captains often feed the alligators by hand to the delight of their customers.
One piece of cell phone footage obtained by NBC2 shows one of the other captain’s working for the tour company feeding alligators a few weeks ago, with a large one jumping out of the water to grab the food.
After the attack on Tuesday, Weatherholt, reportedly drove himself back to the dock, with Florida Fish and Wildlife officers having to hunt down the gator and killing it. After killing the gator, they retrieved the captain’s hand from its stomach.
Though the hand was transported to the hospital were Weatherholt was taken, doctors were unable to re-attach it.
The Florida Wildlife Commission said later a criminal investigation was pending due to the fact feeding wild alligators is a second-degree misdemeanor.