Woman who helped save gator victim speaks out

One of the kayakers who helped save the life of a woman attacked by a large alligator near Wekiva Island is speaking with Fox 35. 
 
Krista Karlsen was kayaking with her parents and her boyfriend, Casey Spencer, when they saw a woman struggling with a gator, screaming for help, about 30 yards away in Wekiva Springs Saturday.
 
Karlsen told Fox, when they paddled over to help, the woman’s entire arm was clamped down in the 9-foot gator’s jaws.
 
"It was very surreal,” Karlsen said, “When we got to her, the alligator wasn't moving. Her whole arm was down its throat and it was just staring at us. She was just looking at us with this really eerie calm voice saying, 'Help me, please help me.'"
 
Krista did the only thing she could think of, yelling at Casey to beat the gator away with his paddle.
 
"I was screaming at him to hit it and then he just started beating it up, and then it got angry and started pulling her around more and he just kept hitting it and finally it let her go," Karlsen said.
 
The victim, Rachael Lilienthal, 37, was alive, but in shock and bleeding heavily.
 
"She went to bring her right arm to pull onto the kayak and she was like, 'I don't have a right arm.' And we both saw from the shoulder down it was gone," Karlsen said.
 
The group pulled Lilienthal up into a canoe and paddled her to safety at Wekiva Island.
 

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