Despite a sign posted nearby that read ‘No Swimming: Alligators”, a 28-year-old Texas man jumped into the water in a bayou and was attacked and killed by an alligator early Friday morning. The man had been swimming in Burkart’s Marina in the southeast Texas town of Orange, near the Louisiana border, around 2:30 a.m. on Friday when he was attacked by a massive alligator shortly after jumping in.
Two hours after the incident, the Texas game warden, sheriff’s deputies in tow, found his body not far from where he was attacked, Newsweek reported. The man has not been identified at this time.
Authorities said the man was accompanied by a woman. According to KFDM News, she jumped in after hearing his pleas for help from the dock but was not injured by the alligator. She recalls feeling something brush against her — likely the gator’s tail — but was not attacked or hurt.
The pair had been seen at the marina bar beforehand, according to witnesses. The man removed his shoes and shirt, even after he had been warned not to jump into the murky water.
This marks the first fatal alligator incident in Texas State Game Warden Mike Boone could recall. According to the Houston Chronicle, this gator attack marks the first one in nearly 200 years.
Allen Burkart owns the marina, a family-friendly place, selling beers and hamburgers with a shuffleboard table for entertainment, and said two of his employees were cleaning up when the man said he was going to jump into the water.
“They were begging him not to do it,” said Burkart, who is 82 and has owned the marina for 50 years.
He said the alligator, which was about 12 feet long, was spotted in the bayou in recent weeks which prompted him to post a sign warning people not to swim.