Indiana man tells tale of Guatemala croc attack



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A trip to Guatemala wasn't quite the vacation one Indiana man dreamed of.

He was attacked by a crocodile and then was awake the entire time doctors stitched him back together.

Despite the harrowing ordeal, Chris Waggoner recounts the attack with a smile on his face.

Until a recent trip to Guatemala the only scar Waggoner ever had was a tiny one on his cheek left by a golden retriever.

But it was no golden retriever that left Chris with more than 100 stitches on his head.

The scars around Chrisís head and neck were left by the mouth of a 10 foot crocodile.

A crocodile Chris says surprised him as he floated on his back in this Guatemalan lake in January.

"I was like, it doesn't get any better than this. You know? Wow, i've got a charmed life," said Waggoner.

Seconds later...

"I heard this sound of like whoosh. Out from under the water these jaws come from behind my head. Boom. Clamp down on the ears like that. Pulls me under the water. In a second or two, I figure out what's going on. I'm actually being eaten by an animal. That's ridiculous. I was kind of laughing to myself. Cause I was just like this doesn't happen."

But it was.

"It's got my head like this and thump. Like tries to snap it. I was trying to reach for the eyes or something and it didn't seem like it was working. So I just panicked and kind of wrenched my head out. It was like being in a headlock or something and just squirm out in whatever way you can," said Waggoner.

Then suddenly Chris was free from the powerful jaws and swimming about 2 full pool lengths to shore.

"Now it's the time to scream and hopefully someone will know Iím being eaten," Waggoner said.

The whole way hoping the crocodile wasn't closing in behind.

Chris says park rangers pulled him out of the water.

Less than a half hour later Chris was in surgery awake and smiling the entire time doctors stitched him up.

And that's what he's doing now...even as he remembers his near death experience.

"It would definitely be an exotic way to go," said Waggoner.

As for the croc, Chris says he has no hard feelings against the animal.

After all, he says the reptile was just doing what comes naturally.

Emily Longnecker
    NBC Newschannel

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