2:55 PM PDT, August 16, 2021
Video shows a gator bite down on the handler’s hand during a kids’ birthday party at Scales and Tails, a reptile and animal zoo, in West Valley City. She jumped into the glass enclosure to get better leverage. Then, the gator whipped the trainer underwater in what’s known as a “death roll.”
“Hey! We’ve got trouble!” a bystander shouts.
One by one, the kids were taken away. That’s when the brave dad, later identified as Donnie Wiseman, leaped in. Without hesitation, he got on top of the alligator and held it down. The female trainer was finally able to break free and was pulled to safety.
Wiseman remained in the enclosure and continued his epic battle with the alligator, before the female trainer returned and tried to help. She told Wiseman to try to sit upright, and he was finally able to escape.
Now, he’s being dubbed “Crocodile Donnie.”
“Was there any point when you got in there and thought, oh boy I made a mistake here?” Inside Edition correspondent Steve Fabian asked Wiseman.
“No, not at all actually. I didn’t really even think about any of that. I needed him to let go. He was going to take her life if I didn’t get in there and get her,” Wiseman said.
In a statement, the zoo expressed gratitude to all the civilians involved.
“These gentlemen could have stayed in the safety zone as most of us would, but instead jumped into the situation … and helped secure the alligator. Their help, combined with the training of our staff member, probably saved her life and her limbs,” it said.
Officials say the female trainer suffered injuries to her hand. She is expected to make a full recovery.