Golfer sues course for gator attack

An elderly South Carolina golfer whose right arm was partially torn off by an alligator has filed a lawsuit against the golf course, according to a report by Courthouse News Service.

James Wiencek, 76, argued in the filing that he would not have tried to play his ball from out of a water hazard if there had been warning signs about alligators in the area.

The incident occurred in October 2009 when Wiencek and his son were playing a round at Ocean Creek Golf Club at the Fripp Island Resort near Beaufort, S.C.

Wiencek hit his ball on the 11th hole near a large, deep pond that was surrounded by a steep embankment covered with tall grass. As he reached down for the ball, the alligator attacked, pulling him into the water.

"The alligator . . . attempted to initiate a roll, pulling plaintiff underwater. Plaintiff struggled with the alligator, and the alligator tore plaintiff’s right arm off in a violent and vicious manner above the elbow," the lawsuit reads.

"The alligator swam away, having eaten plaintiff’s arm."

Wiencek was then helped out of the water by his son and other golfers.

The lawsuit also claims that residents near the hole in question had seen a large alligator acting aggressively and had alerted golf course attendants.

The complaint argues that the defendants "failed to take reasonable action to secure the premises of the golf course and to warn its business invitees, including the plaintiff, of the alligator’s aggressive presence, size, or aggressive behavior."

Wiencek is seeking actual and punitive damages for negligence, pain and suffering, mental anguish, discomfort and disability.

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