ST. CLOUD, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – A 9-year-old boy is recovering after he fought off a 500-pound alligator in a lake, according to wildlife officials.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told WKMG-TV that the attack happened Thursday afternoon.

Wildlife officials said James Barney was riding his bike when he decided to go for a swim in a non-swimming area.

“He was just at the lakefront playing, him and a couple of his friends, and they got in the water, they were swimming around, an alligator came up and just snatched him,” John Hayes, Barney’s grandfather, told the station. “He was scared to death. He thought one of his friends was poking him and then all of a sudden it just grabbed him.”

Barney was able to fight off the attack.

“Then he was fighting with it, hitting it in the face and it finally opened its mouth a little bit, and he hit it again in the eye and he got away from it,” Hayes told WKMG.

James suffered non-life-threatening injuries and underwent surgery Friday.

The city closed off nearby swimming areas for hours while a trapper went out to try and catch the alligator.


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