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Gator attack survivor grateful for rescuers

Posted: 12:11 PM, Sep 29, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-29 16:11:20Z
An Orlando woman who survived an alligator attack in the Wekiva River has detailed the experience – including the impressive rescue – in an interview with ABC News.
 
Rachael Lilienthal, 37, lost part of her arm after the alligator clamped down on it while she was in shoulder-deep water in the river, the network reports. She gives thanks for the couples in nearby canoes who came to her rescue, including one that used a paddle to beat the gator.
 
She said she didn’t realize the animal was a gator until she touched its head.
 
“It rolled around me, and I could feel my arm break,” she told ABC News. “At that point, I realized I wasn’t getting out of this and needed to call for help.”
 
Casey Spencer and Krista Karlsen witnessed the attack and rushed to help Lilienthal.
 
“I kept trying to go at it while it was on her abdomen,” Spencer told the network, "and [Lilienthal] tried to grab onto the kayak with her right arm, but there was no arm there – it go completely ripped off."
 
Watch the story below.