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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 12:01 GMT
US man saved from alligator jaws
An alligator. File photo
Alligators are a common sight in Florida
A naked man was saved from the jaws of a 12-foot (3.6-metre) alligator by Florida deputies after reports of a man screaming in a lake in the early hours.

Four members of the Polk County Sheriff department waded through waist-deep mud in the dark to reach Adrian Apgar, 45, and pull him free from the alligator.

Mr Apgar was later described as critically ill in hospital.

Police said it was unclear why he was in the water in the early hours, but he had admitted taking crack cocaine.

They responded to calls from the public who had heard a man screaming for help at central Florida's Lake Parker at around 0400 (0900 GMT).

Caught

"I remember him saying: 'I'm over here, get here quick, he's still got me, he's going to kill me, my arms are broken'," one of the deputies, Michael Parker, later told a news conference.

The four officials dragged Mr Apgar 40 yards (metres) out of the water, up a steep bank to the ambulance.

He is believed to have severe injuries to his left arm, a broken right arm and leg injuries.

Another deputy, Billy Osborne, said that any fear of the alligator was overshadowed by need to rescue the man.

''It was a human being, he was dying. He needed help,'' Mr Osborne said. "I knew my partners were behind me. I wasn't too afraid another 'gator was going to get me."

The alligator believed to have carried out the attack was later caught, wildlife officials said.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Trappers grab the alligator from the lake



SEE ALSO
New US alligator killings feared
15 May 06 |  Americas

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