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Man assaulted by crocodile while attempting to swim ashore following boat overturn at Florida park

Park authorities and biologists are actively investigating the event and keeping watch over the suspected crocodile," officials stated.

A man found himself swimming for shore after his sailboat overturned, and it was during this struggle that the incident occurred.

The victim, reportedly in stable condition, was promptly taken to the hospital.

"Continuing their inquiry, rangers and park biologists are closely observing the suspected crocodile, readily identifiable," officials confirmed.

The National Park Service (NPS) released a statement disclosing that at approximately 4:45 p.m. local time on Sunday, park rangers rushed to the Flamingo Marina upon receiving reports of a crocodile bite.

According to NPS, the incident unfolded when a 68-year-old man capsized his sailboat in the marina basin and attempted to swim to shore alongside the boat. Witnesses observed him "going under water," the NPS recounted.

The man received treatment for a leg laceration, the NPS further informed.

Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue, in an email to PEOPLE on Monday, confirmed that the victim was airlifted to a medical facility. The victim's condition remained stable during the transfer to EMS responders.

“Continuing their inquiry, rangers and park biologists are closely observing the suspected crocodile, readily identifiable,” the NPS statement reiterated.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) distinguishes the American crocodile as a federally threatened species. Notable differences from alligators include its "grayish green color," "narrowly tapered snout," and a "fourth tooth on the lower jaw exposed when [its] mouth is closed."

The FWC underscored the rarity of conflicts between crocodiles and humans in Florida due to the former's shy and secluded demeanor. The Miami Herald reported that crocodile attacks on humans are uncommon because crocodiles primarily inhabit isolated regions like the southern Everglades.

To promote harmonious coexistence between humans and crocodiles, the commission advises swimming only in designated areas and during daylight hours, as well as refraining from feeding crocodiles.

In light of this incident at Everglades National Park, the NPS emphasized: “While the park is a safe place to visit, we remind visitors to stay alert and exercise caution, especially around wildlife. Swimming or wading is prohibited in all canals, ponds, freshwater lakes, marked channels, and boat basins in Everglades National Park.”

Collaborating with the FWC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the NPS is actively evaluating the situation.

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