A man swimming late at night in a Texas bayou died after an alligator attacked him in what was reportedly the state’s first fatal gator attack in roughly two centuries.
Tommie Woodward, 28, jumped into a marina early Friday morning along the bayou in the city of Orange, near the Louisiana border, despite a sign that said “No Swimming Alligator,” CNN reported. The marina owner said the warning went up recently after the reptile was spotted lurking in the water. Reports said it measured 10 to 12 feet in length.
The marina’s owner said two employees urged Woodward not to go in the water, but he ignored them, according to CNN. Soon after, the alligator grabbed hold of him and dragged him under water.
A witness saw Woodward floating face down before the alligator pulled him under again, reported local station KFDM.
Woodward’s girlfriend scrambled into the water when he screamed for help,The Associated Press reported. She was unharmed.
A game warden in a boat found Woodward’s body around 4:30 a.m. about 200 yards from the attack site. His left arm had been bitten and there were puncture wounds on his chest, according to local news station KBMT.
Though no one has died in Texas from an alligator attack since 1836, according to The Houston Chronicle, a 13-year-old boy and his 42-year-old father were hospitalized after getting bitten Sunday in a park east of Houston.