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Gary Weidenhamer remembers a bystander calling out, "Someone has been taken by an alligator!" Then came the frantic search for his 10-year-old son.

Weidenhamer plunged into the water and managed to grab his boy's shirt, then his foot, in a furious attempt to free him from the jaws of an 11-foot bull alligator. Other rescuers beat the animal with canoe paddles, and the child was pulled to safety. By then, it was too late.Bradley Weidenhamer was the first person killed by an alligator in Florida in five years.

"I saw a white spot," Weid-en-hamer said. "I reached out and grabbed the white spot and it was a shirt. I pulled and I pulled and I got it up enough to see it was Bradley.

"The alligator pulled him away from me and then I couldn't find him again," he said. "I looked around frantically again. I found that one white spot again. This time, I grabbed a foot and started pulling."

Bradley had been wading near a canoe carrying his parents on Saturday when the 11-foot bull alligator grabbed him by the head and pulled him beneath the Loxa-hatch-ee River.

The attack occurred in a shallow stretch of the river where others were canoeing and wading at Jonathan Dickinson State Park.

Weidenhamer said others began beating the alligator with canoe paddles, and they were able to free the child. The boy was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

An examination of the carcass of an alligator killed several hours after the attack was inconclusive as to whether it was the one that attacked Bradley.

"The size of the alligator and the location where we caught it leads us to believe that we do have the alligator that attacked the boy," said Lt. Jim Huffstodt of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Com-mission.

Confirmation could come in the next couple of days by comparing teeth marks on the victim with the alligator's jaws, he said.

The Weidenhamers said their son's death was a freak accident and that they would one day go canoeing again.