Drone Captures Man Fighting Off Alligator in Lake

JC La Verde, a firefighter, and paramedic for Oldsmar Fire Rescue, was at Lake Thonotosassa in Florida on August 3 recording a promotional video for his company Defeat X. During this time, he entered the water and was attacked by a large alligator. 

JC told ABC Action News, “With the right stroke, all I felt was scales, teeth, and then right there I’m like okay. So, what I think I did, what I felt like I did, was that I immediately tried to open its jaws because I knew I was in a gator,” Amazingly, whatever JC did worked, and was able to fight off the alligator. It gave him just enough time to swim back to shore. A good samaritan then rushed him to Tampa General Hospital. He sustained serious injuries to both his head and face. He was taken into emergency surgery, and it took six hours to repair the damage to his skull and jaw.

JC’s wife, Christine, wrote in a Facebook post, “I am truly in awe of my husband. He is a walking miracle, and God has blessed him and us by helping him to survive this attack. I love you, and thank you for always inspiring those around you and thinking of others when the unthinkable was happening to you. I’m so proud of you for telling you’re story in a true authentic way. Please continue to share and pray for us as we are continuing on his road to recovery.”

JC still has a long road ahead of him. According to his family he was readmitted to the hospital a few days ago after experiencing a “syncopal episode and hit his head.” He was left without bone to protect the right side of his head. He has since been cleared by his doctors and is back home. He and his wife are trying to adjust to their new normal. 

A Fundraiser has been set up for JC and his family. According to the organizer, Kenney Ceron, “JC is a man who has dedicated his entire life to helping others. He has always chosen a path of selfless and meaningful service committing his entire life to service. His company Defeat X is a testament to that statement as it focuses on helping others. Defeat X has “hosted several events to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to overcome personal adversities and improve themselves.” You can find the GoFundMe account here.

For more coverage on this story, check out the additional news sources below:

https://www.abcactionnews.com/news/region-hillsborough/oldsmar-firefighter-paramedic-in-high-spirits-after-fending-off-alligator ABC Action News

https://www.foxnews.com/us/florida-drone-video-captures-swimmer-fighting-alligator FoxNews

https://nypost.com/2022/08/18/footage-captures-encounter-between-juan-carlos-la-verde-gator/ NY Post

https://www.cbsnews.com/miami/video/florida-man-is-thankful-to-be-alive-after-an-alligator-attack-caught-on-drone-cam/ CBS News