A man in his late seventies was bitten by a crocodile at a Swedish aquarium after he put his hand above its enclosure while attempting to make a speech. And it turned out the crocodile that bit him was a gift from former Cuban president Fidel Castro.
According to Aftonbladet, the man, who is in his late-70s was attending a private party at the Skansen Aquarium, which is part of the zoo on the Djurgården island in Stockholm. The report said that he had climbed on a ledge adjacent to protective glass to deliver a speech and his arm was over the crocodile enclosure.
“The crocodile had already seen the arm and was able to take a large bite from the elbow and down,” the report said. The victim was rushed to a hospital immediately, and his condition was reported to be “stable”.
Authorities at the Skansen Aquarium told Swedish media they had never seen such incidents before and have hosted similar parties in the past, given it’s a popular Swedish tradition. They are now planning to change the enclosure facility by building a higher wall to avert such incidents in future.
Head of the aquarium Jonas Wahlström said that he tried to warn the man but it was too late.
“What I saw was that he climbed up on a rock and was holding one of his arms over the glass barrier of the crocodile exhibit because he was going to give a speech,” Wahlström told The Local Sweden.
Wahlström said the crocodile let go of the man after about 10 seconds.
“He had his arm on the wrong side of the security glass and was then bitten by one of the crocodiles,” police control room officer Mikael Pettersson told Swedish news agency TT.
There were multiple doctors present at the party who managed to bandage the hand before the ambulance and police arrived.
Here’s how people reacted to the news:
Fidel Castro’s crocodile is living a fuller life than I ever will and I am furious https://t.co/sZmRjNXSKi
— Christopher Ingraham (@_cingraham) August 22, 2019
‘Fidel Castro’s crocodile bites man at Swedish aquarium’. In fairness this is exactly the kind of news to be expected from what I’m told is a socialist nightmare state. https://t.co/754TsvpQko
— Carl Fridh Kleberg (@FridhKleberg) August 22, 2019
— andres rojas (@OkAporia) August 22, 2019
“Fidel Castro’s crocodile” sounds like the start of a Rick Ross bar https://t.co/q4XeC5X91i
— Marco Henry Negrete (@marcohenry) August 21, 2019
The headlines this week appear to have been composed by a committee of the Academy of Surrealist Oneirists.
Man bitten by Fidel Castro’s crocodile.
— Richard Epstein (@rhepstein1) August 21, 2019
There is a headline you don’t expect to read. Also the first line is….
— Shane Woodford (@WoodfordinDK) August 21, 2019
According to BBC News, the crocodile that bit the man is one of the two Cuban crocodiles at the aquarium. The two crocodiles – named Castro and Hillary – were gifted by former Cuban president Castro to Russian cosmonaut Vladimir Shatalov in 1978.
The duo were originally donated to the Moscow zoo by the cosmonaut and they were later brought to Sweden.
The crocodile pair have had 11 offspring since arriving in Stockholm and in 2015, ten baby crocodiles had been transported to Cuba to boost the species’ dwindling population, an Associated Press report said.