Authorities in Everglades City, Fla., said an area airboat captain, whose right hand was bitten off by an alligator in June, was arrested and charged Friday with feeding that hungry gator, which they said may have provoked the attack.
The Fort Myers News-Press reported that 63-year-old Wallace Weatherholt faces a second-degree misdemeanor charge of unlawful feeding of a gator.
According to the newspaper, on June 12, Weatherholt was giving an airboat tour of the Everglades to a family visiting from Indiana when he was bitten.
In an interview with the Associated Press, the family said Weatherholt hung a fish over the side of the boat and had his hand near the water’s surface when the alligator sprang up and bit him at the wrist.
The family said that after the attack, Weatherholt was able to steer the airboat back to the docks and went to the hospital.
The News-Press reported that Florida Fish and Wildlife officers tracked and euthanized the alligator, and were able to retrieve Weatherholt's hand from its stomach, but that doctors were unable to reattach it.
Weatherholt could face possible jail time and a fine of up to $500 if he's convicted of the charges.
According to the newspaper, he was released from police custody after posting bail and has a court appearance set for Aug. 22.
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