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Audience member at reptile show describes how he jumped on alligator to help trainer who was bitten

SHARE Audience member at reptile show describes how he jumped on alligator to help trainer who was bitten
Donnie Wiseman wrestles with “Darth Gator,” an 11-year old, 8.5-foot, 150-pound alligator that attacked trainer Lindsay Bull.

In this image from video taken on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, Donnie Wiseman wrestles with “Darth Gator,” an 11-year old, 8.5-foot, 150-pound alligator that attacked trainer Lindsay Bull at Scales and Tails in West Valley City.

Theresa Wiseman

When an alligator attacked its trainer at a reptile petting zoo in West Valley City, a guest named Donnie Wiseman jumped in to save her, without hesitation.

He’s now being called a hero, but Wiseman said the trainer, Lindsay Bull, actually deserves all the credit.

“I don’t know what that is, maybe his claw,” Wiseman said as he showed his battle wounds.

Wiseman almost didn’t go to Scales and Tails on Saturday, but as a reptile enthusiast, he decided at the last minute to go to a party there for a family friend’s 5-year-old child.

“This was just a 5-year-old birthday party,” he said. “We were just doing kid stuff.”

The party was a private event at the reptile petting zoo.

One of the crowd pleasers was “Darth Gator,” the 11-year old, 8.5-foot, 150-pound alligator.

Wiseman said he was looking forward to seeing the alligator up close, although he didn’t yet know how close he would actually be.

Right when trainer Lindsay Bull started feeding the reptile, it snapped her hand and pulled her into the water, eventually putting her in a death roll.

Wiseman couldn’t believe his eyes. He started yelling for help, but no one came. So, he jumped in.

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Donnie Wiseman on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, talks about saving a trainer who was attacked by an alligator at Scales and Tails in West Valley City on Saturday.

Jay Hancock, KSL-TV

“All of a sudden, Donnie was up there on the platform, yelling, ‘What do you want me to do? What do you want me to do?’” recalled Bull.

He said he could tell she was a highly trained professional, and although he was nervous, too, he knew she needed help.

“In the video, you can see I get in and I’m kind of like, thinking in my head, ‘All right, here we are,’” said Wiseman. “I said something like, ‘What do I need to know,’ and she said, ‘Talk to me.’”

After close to a minute, the reptile released her hand and she was able to get out of the enclosure, but Wiseman was still inside, straddling the gator.

“I thought to myself, you know, once I get her free, I’ve got him by the neck, he shouldn’t be able to get me, right?”

His wife, Theresa, was filming the whole thing and thinking the same thing.

“Honestly, the most terrifying thing for me was once she was out, suddenly I realized, ‘Oh my goodness, he’s in there alone,’” she said.

After Bull was pulled from the enclosure, a few moments passed, and at Bull’s direction, Wiseman jumped off the gator and out of the enclosure.

Then other guests stepped in, helping bandage Wiseman’s hand and get her to the hospital.

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Trainer Lindsay Bull talks on Monday, Aug. 16, 2021, after she was attacked by an alligator at Scales and Tails in West Valley City on Saturday.

Jay Hancock, KSL-TV

Wiseman said her quick thinking, expertise and professionalism saved everyone there.

“Thanks to her, her bravery, her resourcefulness, her knowledge, her professionalism — she got herself out of the tank and myself without any more harm being done,” he said.

Bull said she doesn’t know why Darth Gator clamped down, but she does know Wiseman saved her.

She told KSL TV’s Dan Rascon her hand is expected to make a full recovery and “she can’t wait” to get back to work.

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In this image from video taken on Saturday, Aug. 14, 2021, Donnie Wiseman wrestles with “Darth Gator,” an 11-year old, 8.5-foot, 150-pound alligator that attacked trainer Lindsay Bull at Scales and Tails in West Valley City.

Theresa Wiseman