Man airlifted to hospital after rare crocodile attack in Florida National Park

An American crocodile relaxes in Shark Valley of Everglades National Park on February 3, 2023 in Miami, Florida
Crocodiles are much more rare than alligators in Florida, and such attacks are highly unusual (Image credit: The Washington Post / Contributor)

The US National Parks Service has issued a public caution after a man was bitten by a crocodile in a Florida National Park. The incident comes just weeks after we reported on hikers who made their children pose for a photo with an alligator in the same park.

The incident occurred on Sunday, according to a news release, when National Park Service rangers received a report of a crocodile attack at 4:43 p.m. in Everglades National Park. A 68-year-old man had capsized his recreational sailboat in the Flamingo Marina Basin and was observed attempting to swim ashore while towing his boat when witnesses saw him being pulled under the water.

Rangers responded immediately and discovered the man had been bitten in the leg. He was reportedly airlifted to hospital where he is recovering from the incident and believed to be in a stable condition. 

The incident is being investigated by park officials and biologists who say they are monitoring the suspected crocodile, reporting that it is "easily identifiable."

The American crocodile resembles the American alligator and is a federally threatened species. Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist, however crocodile attacks are extremely rare. In 2014, the Guardian reported on the first crocodile attack on humans in the US, while in our article on what to do if you see an alligator in Florida, we reported that from 1948 to 2016, there were 383 recorded incidents of an alligator bite serious enough to require medical attention. That said, compared to the five million alligators in Flordia, there are just 1,000 crocodiles.

Visitors to Everglades National Park are reminded that while the park is a safe place, it is important to stay alert and practice wildlife safety. Swimming or wading is prohibited in all canals, ponds, freshwater lakes, marked channels and boat basins in the park.

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.