A man’s kayaking trip down a serene river route turned into a scary affair when an alligator slammed into his kayak, throwing him into the water. The close encounter caught on camera is being widely shared on social media, with many remarking the man was “extremely lucky” to emerge unscathed.
Peter Joyce was out paddling on the Waccamaw River in North Carolina when something slammed into his kayak and knocked him into the water.
“I thought I heard a fish jump to my left — turned out not to be a fish,” Joyce told WECT “About three feet from the kayak I made out the head of the gator and that was it, I had no time to react.”
The experienced kayaker was thrown into the water, but was able to grab some branches to avoid the boat turning upside down. The entire incident was captured on camera and has over 1 million views on YouTube.
“If it hit and there was nothing to grab on the right side of me, I would have inverted,” said Joyce. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”
Watch the video here:
Joyce, who’s a firefighter and paramedic, didn’t see the alligator after the collision, but could feel it brush against the bottom of his boat as it swam by. After settling himself, Joyce is seen hitting the side of his kayak three times, hoping to frighten the alligator away.
After taking some deep breaths, Joyce grabbed his paddle and got out of the area as quickly as he could.
“That’s what I thought about was that the thing was going to go for a second hit or something,” he told CNN.
Many commented on the video, saying that he was lucky it wasn’t a full-grown alligator involved. Others pointed out it’s better to have some company even while kayaking.
Alicia Davis, an alligator biologist with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, said the alligator was probably scared too and took off in the other direction. “It could have been a female that was trying to intimidate him, maybe a little bit, because they are a little bit aggressive around their nests,” she said. “Mostly they try to intimidate you if you get too close.”
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