Juliana Ossa, a 10-year-old girl from Florida, encountered a life-threatening situation while swimming in shallow water at a county park. Although the park had an on-duty lifeguard, a "swim at your own risk" sign and a designated swimming area, it wasn't enough to keep this little girl completely out of harm's way.
Ossa was swimming in the lake when she felt an alligator clamp down on her leg. The brave little girl said in an interview with Today, that the gator thought she was a "ginormous piece of chicken."
She first tried hitting the gator's forehead to get it to release her leg, but it didn't work. She then remembered something she learned at a gator park, Gatorland, that would help her escape any "alligator emergency."
She "put [her] fingers up its nostrils," and she went on to explain in an Inside Edition interview, "it couldn't breathe so it had to breathe from its mouth. It opened its mouth and let my leg out." She also said the alligator was "too busy" to attack her in any other way because it was trying to breathe and its claws were in the sand. The gator "didn't have any attack moves to take out [her] fingers."
This video tells Ossa's terrifying story in her own words. Her composure in recalling the event is incredibly calm, so it's no wonder she was able to escape the lethal animal's jaws.
She walked away with minor injuries
Ossa was able to fight the gator off before it took her leg or her life. She escaped and only needed a few stitches where the gator clamped down. She's fortunate to be alive, and her bravery saved her life. Her advice to anyone in a "gator emergency" is to be brave.
What to do when you're in an "alligator emergency"
Gator experts say that another way to fight off an attacking alligator is putting your fingers in its ears or eyes. Or, they suggest making a lot of noise. Alligators are naturally scared of humans, so they will usually move away from loud noises.
There are measures being taken to increase safety at the location of the incident. The lake in Orlando, Florida has been closed for the next week to ensure safety and provide extra caution.
This little girl's composure and bravery saved her own life, and her defense mechanism will help others who, one day, may find themselves in a similar situation.
Lindsey loves traveling and shopping, and her favorite place in the whole world is Disneyland. She also loves spending time with her family and cute husband. She is studying Professional and Technical Writing and is part of the content team for FamilyShare.