‘I will never forget when its head came above water’: California teen fights off crocodile in vacation attack

·3-min read

A teenager from California was attacked and dragged underwater by a crocodile while vacationing in Mexico, ending up in hospital after fighting it off.

Kiana Hummel, 18, managed to keep the crocodile away long enough for others to intervene and help her out of the reptile’s grip during her visit to Puerto Vallarta on Mexico's west coast.

The attack took place when Ms Hummel was about to take a nighttime swim with a friend. The crocodile emerged from the water and grabbed Ms Hummel by her right leg and dragged her into the water.

Ms Hummel told KGO that she punched the croc multiple times before it finally let go of her. But the animal then grabbed her by her right leg a second time.

“I just remember saying, ‘please don’t leave me,’” she told KGO.

“And I didn’t think I was getting out that second time. That was just really bad,” she added.

A number of witnesses took action and were able to help the teenager get free, pulling her out of the water.

“It was most definitely one of the craziest, scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” witness Sarah Laney told the Bay Area TV station.

“Honestly, I will never forget it when the crocodile’s head came above water. I just went into shock,” she said.

Ms Hummel had severe tissue and muscle damage done to her legs and is still unable to walk. After the attack, she called her mother and waited almost 45 minutes for an ambulance to pick her up.

“I’m on the phone with her, she’s yelling, ‘get me an ambulance, get me an ambulance to the hospital,’” Ms Martinez told KGO. “It took them forever.”

The mother, Ariana Martinez, told KGO that she flew to Mexico to be with her daughter.

After returning to California, Ms Hummel has been hospitalised at Marin General, where she’s expected to undergo a second surgery.

The attack occurred at a Marriott resort. Ms Hummel, Ms Martinez, and Ms Laney all said the resort could have done more to make guests aware of the dangers in the area.

However, Mariott spokesperson Kerstin Sachl told KGO that warning flags and signs are in place.

“The safety and security of our guests and associates are our top priority, and we can confirm that appropriate signage, as well as night patrolling and red flags, were and are properly in place,” Ms Sachl said.

“We review our plans and procedures often and work closely with the appropriate authorities on an ongoing basis,” she added. “Our staff is trained in how to respond to safety matters appropriately. We encourage all guests to be vigilant for their safety.”

“Until that moment, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a crocodile was on that beach. Ever,” Ms Laney said.

Her friend Natalie wrote a review of the hotel, saying: “I understand you don’t want to ‘scare’ guests, but the following day there should’ve been big YELLOW signs to warn of the attack ... my group is TRAUMATISED by this experience.”

“It could have ended so much differently,” Ms Martinez said. “That call could have been a totally different call.”

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