Man recovers after alligator nearly bites off hand

An alligator hunter was looking to catch his next ferocious beast, but instead of snagging an 11-foot gator, the gator was almost the kiss of death.

Justin Perchalski is at Orlando Regional Medical Center recovering. His family says he is up walking around and still has function in his hand -- practically a miracle, after what they say happened.

“I don’t think he’ll be doing alligator hunting much anymore,” says Justin''s brother, Ryan Perchalski.   “The bones are turned to mush, obviously with an 11-foot alligator.”

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), Perchalski was in the Three Forks Marsh, near Palm Bay, when they received a call about the alligator attack. His brother says Justin was with three other men, when he had just caught an alligator.

“Justin reached over the side of the boat to pull on the line, to bring the gator up, when the gator came out of the water, grabbing his right hand,” he explains. 

The other guys grabbed onto Perchalski, keeping him in the boat.

“The alligator made i,t about a turn-and-a-half with his hand in his mouth before he let go, which is kind of crazy, because typically they don’t let go.”

Perchalski took off his belt to use as a tourniquet, then drove the boat himself back to the dock because the other men in the boat were unfamiliar with the area.  He is now recovering from surgery and still facing a long road ahead.

“One of his radial bones in his forearm is gone,” Ryan Perchalski says. “It’s just a freak accident. You do it long enough, something like this is bound to happen.”

Since they were hunting, FWC says the reptile was not considered a nuisance gator, so they will not attempt to trap it. Hunting season started Thursday and continues through November 1. FWC reminds people to be cautious when looking for alligators.