December 6, 2023
Firefighter survived after being bitten by a crocodile

Firefighter survived after being bitten by a crocodile

Firefighter Juan Carlos La Verde survived an attack by a crocodile over 3 meters in length in early August. The animal attacked the head of the man who was seriously injured. This week, he shared his story in an interview with US television channel WFLA, with a drone-generated video showing the predator’s action.

La Verde, who works in Tampa, Florida, was swimming in Lake Thonotossa while recording an educational video for his outdoor adventure company, DefeatX, when he noticed an alligator swimming toward him.

Swimming was for an event organized by La Verde. The fireman had his head cut off and part of his torso by a creeper. He said La Verde and the animal rolled into the water, turning 360 degrees before the crocodile released him.

“I felt the equivalent of a telephone pole falling and hitting my face. I felt the scales, I felt the teeth, so I knew what I was in. God gave me the strength and ability to grab the top and bottom of his jaw instantly,” the firefighter said.

A drone commanded by one of La Verde’s partners shared images of the moment of the attack.

He also told the TV channel that he felt a “crack in his jaw” and continued to swim after the animal was disposed of. When I was safe, the adrenaline wore off and the “unbearable” pain began.

To the Inside Edition, he admitted, “After I got rid of it, I tried to keep swimming to the docks. It’s very hard to do when your brain is bitten and your jaw is torn.” Amazingly, La Verde has nothing bad to say about crocodile. “I don’t know if you’ve touched one of them before, but they are beautiful creatures.”

La Verde is a member of the Oldsmar Fire Department and a US Air Force veteran. After the attack, he was taken to the hospital, where he stayed for 10 days.

Surgeries and healing

He underwent maxillofacial reconstruction and a craniotomy. Part of the right temporal lobe had to be removed due to a perforation and fracture of the bone.

laverde - Playback / WFLA TV - Play / WFLA TV

Juan Carlos La Verde survived an attack by a 3-meter crocodile

Photo: Playback / WFLA TV

Although he needs several surgeries on his long road to recovery, La Verde remains optimistic about his future and assures him that he will continue his adventures.

“The story is about a miracle,” he said. “Find joy, whatever it may be for you, that’s my challenge for you to find it.”