ESTERO, FLORIDA — A Florida man in his 70’s leapt into a pond to fight an alligator that was trying to eat his dog.
Richard Wilbanks found himself struggling underwater with a gator, after the predator sunk its teeth into his beloved toy spaniel, Gunner.
A video of the brave rescue went viral on social media.
Wilbanks told CNN he was taking the puppy for a walk near a pond in his backyard when the gator pounced on Gunner.
“It came out of the water like a missile. I never thought an alligator could be that fast,” Wilbanks said. “It was so quick.”
He admitted that the feat was difficult and suggested adrenaline helped him pull it off.
Fortunately, both Wilbanks and Gunner survived the attack without suffering any major injuries. The pup sustained a minor puncture wound while his pop got a tetanus shot after his hands got “chewed up.”
Many viewers online celebrated the classic “Florida Man” story, calling attention to the cigar Wilbanks was chewing on throughout the violent encounter.
As one viewer wrote: “Didn’t even drop his cigar! That’s a Florida Man!!