Tommie Woodward, aged 28 and of Orange County, Texas, USA was visiting a private marina on the Sabine River in the same state, when he began mocking the creatures before jumping into the marina, where they immediately closed in on him.
Local county official Rodney Price said that Woodward disregarded signs posted at the marina warning visitors against swimming there. He said “He removed his shirt, removed his billfold…someone shouted a warning and he said “blank (expletive) the alligators” and jumped into the water and almost immediately yelled for help”
Marina employee Michelle Wright, in an interview with news station KFDM, told how she approached Woodward and warned him against entering the marina’s waters, but to no avail as he decided to take the fatal plunge. She later found his dismembered body floating in the water. “I saw his body floating face down,” she recollected.
“And then he’s out there for a couple of seconds and then he’s dragged back down. And then he come back up still face down and then he gets pulled down again. And then he just disappears.”
Alligators kill their prey by often clamping their jaws around the victim’s neck and dragging them below the waterline in an attempt to asphyxiate them.
Marina owner Allen Burkhart added: “He went under one time, then he hollered (shouted) at her to get out of the water.
‘Then he pulled him down the second time and that was it.
‘I’ve been here all my life and this is the first time something like this has happened. … I’m still in shock.”
Tommie Woodward had relocated to Orange County from St. Louis along with his twin brother and had found a job at a local shipyard. The reason for the plunge which killed him was not reported by Metro.
There are believed to be millions of alligators residing in the southern United States, with Louisiana and Florida states alone having 3.3 million. Most alligators avoid human contact and rarely feed on people, but can attack with often lethal consequences if they feel threatened or alarmed. They normally hunt turtles, fish, mammals and amphibians. In Florida, there are a dozen alligator attacks per year, but fatalities are rare. Only twenty people have been killed by the reptiles in that state in the past 40 years, according to the Tampa Bay Times.