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Hero bystander saves alligator trainer from attack in dramatic rescue

The 150-pound gator pulled its trainer into the water.
/ Source: TODAY

A man leapt into action to save an animal handler when an alligator attacked her at a children’s birthday party.

Lindsay Bull, 31, an alligator trainer at Scales and Tails, a petting zoo in West Valley City, Utah, was feeding a 150-pound alligator when things took a terrifying turn: The gator, known as Darth Gator, bit down hard on her hand and began pulling her into its tank.

“Initially it was like, ‘Oh, he bit me,’ but then he really bit down, and that’s when I realized, ‘OK, this is going to be serious,’” Bull told NBC News in a segment that aired Tuesday on TODAY.

When the 8-foot-long reptile began thrashing Bull around in the water in what’s known as the “death roll,” Donnie Wiseman, 48, a father at the birthday party with his stepson, leapt into action.

He jumped into the tank and onto the alligator’s back, wrestling the reptile and attempting to free Bull from its vice-like grip. Wiseman's wife, Theresa, caught the harrowing moment on video.

“I knew that if I didn't get in there and hold this animal down, he was going to tear her arm,” Wiseman said.

Eventually, the creature loosened its hold on Bull’s arm and she was able to escape. Wiseman also got away safely.

Bull went to the hospital with injuries to her hand. In an update posted on the Scales and Tails Facebook page, she said she is being “treated aggressively with antibiotics” and that an orthopedic surgeon was able to find a solution that should result in a full recovery.

The petting zoo’s Facebook page also thanked two other people who helped Bull throughout the incident, including one bystander with a nursing background who performed first aid until the EMTs arrived.

“He's a hero for having done what he did,” Bull said of Wiseman. “I couldn't have gotten luckier with the people that were around.”