MEXICO CITY — Two U.S. tourists were attacked by a crocodile in the popular Mexican coastal city of Puerto Vallarta. It’s the latest in a string of maulings of tourists by crocodiles along Mexico’s Pacific coast in the last couple years.
A man, who was in his 40s, was swimming at the Bocanegra beach located at the Velas Vallarta resort when the reptile attacked Monday night. His friend, a 30-year-old man, was also injured after attempting to rescue him along with other members of the visiting group, according to the Jalisco state authorities and witnesses. Both men survived and were transferred to a local hospital.
Authorities released several graphic photos of the men in the hospital covered in bloody bandages.
“The man who was swimming sustained injuries to both legs, his right arm, chest, and abdomen. His companion was injured in the right arm and in the right groin area,” authorities said in an accompanying tweet.
While the men’s identities have not been released, Jalisco authorities said that both men were visiting from Colorado when the attack occurred, on July 18.
Just five days prior to the onslaught, authorities captured a nearly 10-foot-long crocodile weighing roughly 660 pounds wandering through a park only a few miles from where the men were attacked. The crocodile was later released at a river. It's unclear if it was the same crocodile involved in Monday’s incident.
The aggression took place exactly one year after a similar incident in Puerto Vallarta when an 18-year-old American woman was dragged underwater by a crocodile while swimming at a beach near the city’s Marriott resort. She was saved after a hotel worker hit the crocodile with a piece of wood, which caused the reptile to release her. She survived the attack.
But the dangers of crocodiles in Mexico are not limited to Puerto Vallarta.
Around 800 miles southeast along the pacific coast of Mexico, a crocodile attacked a 28-year-old British woman in June of last year, who was swimming in the Manialtepec lagoon outside of Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca. She was reportedly saved by her twin sister, who fought off the crocodile by hitting it repeatedly on the nose and head.
The twin sisters told the media afterward that they’d gone on a boat trip with a German expat offering tours who told them it was safe to swim in the lagoon. After the attack, the German tour guide reportedly fled the country after it became known that they were not licensed by the local tourism authority.
Update: The age of the first victim was incorrect. He was not 24, but in his 40s, according to witnesses.