Waiting in line for a canoe Friday afternoon at the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Joseph Welch heard a splash and then heard a scream.
Welch ran over, jumped into the water and began beating the huge reptile with his fists. He did not try to pull his son’s arm from the alligator’s mouth.
“I didn’t want to get into a tug-of-war with the gator,” he said Monday. “I didn’t want my son’s arm ripped off.”
Another man ran over and screamed for Welch to pull his son away. Welch pulled a little bit, just enough to bring the alligator out of the water for the other man to kick it repeatedly in the abdomen. The alligator let go and Welch pulled his son from the water, amazingly more scared than injured.