A monster crocodile bit a boy’s leg and dragged him under water as he was playing hide-and-seek on a family vacation in Cancun.
Charlie Buhl, 12, said he felt as though he had been “stabbed” after being ambushed by a 13-foot giant crocodile that jumped out of the water and grabbed his leg.
On June 18, he was attacked while playing hide and seek with his teammates on the pool deck of Club Med Cancun, leaving the boy with horrific injuries.
Charlie was hiding with a friend on a ladder, which led to a lagoon at around 8.55 am, when the crocodile jumped and suddenly drowned in the water.
They told good Morning America: “I couldn’t do anything. It was too strong.”
Jennifer, the mother of a 50-year-old boy, told People: “Charlie kept grabbing the stairs to try to pull himself up… but couldn’t.”
She said the frightened screams of the boys were heard by a nearby mother who rushed to help.
Jennifer said a group of men also came to the rescue and one began pulling Charlie away from the crocodile, while three others hit the reptile with their fists and legs and covered his eyes with pillows from the pool deck.
She said: “When they arrived, Charlie was under water. They couldn’t see him.”
Charlie said he clearly remembers the crocodile “squeezing” his leg and pulling it “as hard as he could”.
He added: “It felt like I had been stabbed. I knew it was real, but I didn’t want it to be real.”
He continued: “I remember it pulling me down twice … but when I looked, I still could see the light, so I knew I was only there for half a second.
“In the beginning, there was no pain at all. It felt like someone grabbed your leg and squeezed it tightly with their hands.
“It almost felt like there was blood in his teeth, because the pain in his teeth subsided. [my leg] After that when I was on the ground.”
Charlie said that a friend first told him about the “hiding place on the stairs right next to the lagoon”.
Jennifer said the stairs leading to the lagoon, often used for excursions at the resort, had a metal gate with “no locks” and “no signs or warnings”.
She said she was having dinner at a restaurant in front of the pool when her son was attacked.
I just want people to know they can die there.
“At that time I was described as a bull in a China shop. My body was in panic,” she said.
“I got to where he was on the pool deck and just fell on his chest. I was relieved that he was warm and he was talking and crying… and then I just started praying because it was natural kindly came.
“There was nothing for me but to pray.”
It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive and Jennifer was told that her son’s injuries were “extremely serious” and that he would “lose a leg”.
The family leave was extended by four weeks as Charlie underwent several operations at Cancun Hospital.
Jennifer said doctors managed to save her leg by bravely slicing open the flap of skin.
He was also given 15 hyperbaric chamber treatments and placed on a vitamin C drip.
And Jennifer has praised the resort for covering all of her son’s medical expenses.
But Charlie and his mother now want to warn others about the dangers of crocodiles in Mexico.
Jennifer said: “It’s a big tourist attraction and needs to be warned at airports or hotels. The lagoon also needs to be better isolated from people with lots of crocodiles there.”
Charlie said: “I just want to let people know that they can die there.”
In a statement, Club Med said it is “deeply saddened by the incident” and “continues to provide support to the family”.
According to a statement provided to People, the hotel said it had put up warning signs, lights and a “long fence” to prevent further attacks.
It comes as twin sisters Melissa and 28-year-old Georgia Laurie were killed by an alligator in Mexico’s Manialtepec Lagoon earlier this year.
Crocodiles are fierce, cold-blooded predators that ruthlessly attack and kill about 1,000 people a year – more than sharks.