Dorothy P. Barnes helped to rescue Helena G. Couto from an attacking alligator, Englewood, Florida, February 23, 2003. Ms. Couto, 72, was trimming a bush adjacent to a small pond on the premises of the condominium complex where she resided. Unseen by her, a 100-pound alligator approached and grasped her by the right forearm. Holding onto the bush with her left hand, Ms. Couto struggled against the alligator as it started to drag her toward the pond. She shouted for help, attracting the attention of a friend and neighbor, Ms. Barnes, 72, retired insurance agency employee, who was walking nearby. Ms. Barnes ran to the scene, where she grabbed Ms. Couto by the ankles and pulled, and she too screamed for help. Twisting and rolling, the alligator pulled at Ms. Couto’s arm, partially severing it, as Ms. Barnes kept Ms. Couto from being dragged into the pond. Another resident of the complex arrived, and he used bush cuttings against the alligator to thwart the attack. Having severed Ms. Couto’s arm at the elbow, the alligator retreated to the pond. Ms. Couto was taken to the hospital, where she was detained for five days; reattachment of the arm, which was retrieved after the alligator was shot, was not successful.
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