This past Monday, a 62-year-old man vanished without a trace while snorkeling with friends in the Blue Spring State Park west of Orange City in Florida.
The man, identified as James Okkerse, was found dead a few hours later, after his friends alerted authorities and a search party set out to look for him.
Apparently, it was an alligator that attacked and killed the man
James Okkerse's friends, who were snorkeling with him on the morning he disappeared only to be discovered dead hours later, say he was a talented swimmer and perfectly healthy.
In an interview, one Carol Anen explained how the 62-year-old vanished before her very eyes. She saw him floating about, and then, in a split second, he was gone.
“I went up to the hole to see where he was and I saw him floating along, I thought he was diving. When I got there, he totally disappeared," she added, as cited by DM.
An alligator has already been tracked down and shot dead
Information shared with the public by law enforcement officers and wildlife officials in Florida says that, soon after the man's body was discovered, an alligator was spotted nearby.
The animal, measuring around 12 feet (3.6 meters) in length, was tracked and shot dead. While this is yet to be confirmed, there is talk that this was the animal that killed 62-year-old James Okkerse.
More so since, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife officials, the reptile had been spotted swimming around the park over the weekend, on Sunday, and quickly labeled a threat.
Following this incident, authorities urge that people who go about exploring the Blue Spring State Park in Florida alert officials as soon as they spot a potentially aggressive animal.
“If you got any kind of wild animal, alligator or whatever, that's being aggressive to you, you need to pull back and call law enforcement and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,” said Lenny Salberg of Florida Fish and Wildlife.