Man who survived alligator attack shares ordeal

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - An alligator attack survivor is sharing his story for the first time, just days after being bitten.

Not only was the alligator bite frightening, but James Boyce was also stuck in the middle of nowhere with his wife.

It got so bad that he even said his goodbyes to his wife. He went further to get on the phone to say goodbye to his children.

“I went around this curb, and all I felt was like an electrical shock, and I go, I just screamed,” said Boyce. “I looked, and there’s this gator right there, and he’s not in the water now, people. He’s there on the ground.”

The alligator clamped on to James’ leg while he and his wife were out hunting, Saturday, in a Martin County Wildlife Management area.

“And he keeps grabbing and grabbing, and I’m just, ‘Oh, my God. This is really happening,'” said Boyce.

Boyce kept hitting the gator with the butt of his gun, and the animal eventually gave up, leaving Boyce bleeding profusely.

His wife was frantically calling 911 when he told her to hand over her belt.

“I said, ‘Stand on my thigh and tie it high as you can,'” said Boyce. “I said, ‘You gotta keep your head.'”

“911 was the only thing that went through,” said Terisa Boyce, Boyce’s wife. “They said they were having a hard time to find me because there wasn’t the GPS that they could ping my phone.”

It took hours for rescue crews to reach them.

In the meantime, a fellow hunter nearby saw the helicopter circling and headed toward the couple.

“I knew I had some AC zip ties in my box, so I went back out there and put a tourniquet on him,” said Danny McClelland, the good Samaritan who first came to their aid.

Boyce lost about a half a liter of blood and drifted in and out of consciousness.

“There may have been a possibility that he might have bled, he could’ve bled out in the field,” said Dr. Jorge Vega of St. Mary’s Medical Center. “Who knows, right? I can’t predict or say with certainty, but that would’ve been a possibility.”

Three days later, his badly injured leg is on the mend, and he is on his way home.

“I respect the land. I respect the animals. Sometimes you’re just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Boyce.

Doctors said both tourniquets, the one he made with the belt and the one made by the zip ties, likely saved his life.

Following Boyce’s release from the hospital, doctors said most of his injury was soft tissue related. His muscles and ligaments all seem to be back in working order and will get better as he recovers.

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