Man Killed By Gator in Frisbee Hunt Was First Deadly Attack in Years: FWC

A Florida man believed to have been looking for lost Frisbees on Tuesday is suspected of having fallen victim to an exceedingly rare cause of death: an alligator attack.

Police in Largo, Florida, said they believed that a 47-year-old man, whose name has not been released to the public, was looking for lost Frisbees in the waters of John S. Taylor Park when the alleged attack occurred, according to Tampa's WFTS-TV. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was called to the scene, along with a trapper for the alligator.

"A contracted nuisance alligator trapper is working to remove a nearby alligator and efforts will be made to determine if it was involved in this situation," the FWC said in a statement.

Nearby residents and visitors to the park were urged to avoid the area where the incident occurred while the situation was being handled. The FWC also urged people to avoid approaching or entering the water at any time, especially during the alligator mating season, April through June, when the animals become more aggressive.

florida man alligator attack fatality
Police in Largo, Florida, said they believed that a 47-year-old man, whose name has not been released to the public, was looking for lost Frisbees in the waters of John S. Taylor Park when he was killed in an alligator attack. Above, an alligator is pictured. Al Messerschmidt/WireImage

The FWC also noted that fatal attacks by alligators like the alleged one on Tuesday are exceedingly rare in the state, with the most recent one reported in 2019, and most years since the commission began tracking such statistics in 1948 seeing no fatal incidents. The most that any year has ever had in that timeframe has been three, in 2006, with only 26 total fatalities reported over roughly 74 years.

The commission estimated that the likelihood of sustaining a serious injury from an alligator is roughly 3.1 million to one. Any residents who believe they have spotted an alligator that poses a risk to people are urged to call the FWC's Nuisance Alligator Hotline toll‐free at 1‐866‐FWC‐GATOR (392‐4286). The commission said that alligators less than 4 feet long should not be reported.

Newsweek reached out to the Largo Police Department for comment.

On Monday, also in Florida, police used sniper rifles to provide cover for rescue divers searching for survivors of a van that crashed into a pond containing alligators. Earlier this month, a family in the state's Collier County reported that an alligator had broken into their garage in an incident that did not result in any injuries.

In October 2021, an 11-foot-long alligator attacked a woman in St. Petersburg, Florida, and left her seriously injured after she fell into a waterway. The woman, who was in her 50s, was believed to be homeless and had been resting on a seawall when the structure gave way, causing her to fall into a canal below.

People nearby who heard her cries for help were able to call 911. When the woman was rescued, she was determined to have suffered severe injuries, mostly on her arms. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment.