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Girl, 10, escapes alligator by prising open jaws

A 10-year-old girl has survived an attack by an alligator by prising open the reptile’s jaws.

The youngster was about 10ft from the shore in a lake designated safe for bathers when the reptile grabbed her by the knee.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) said she was able to force the animal’s mouth open but suffered several puncture wounds to her knee and thigh.

The attack took place at Mary Jane Lake, about 15 miles (24km) from the centre of Orlando, Florida, at about 3pm on Saturday.

Chad Weber, a spokesman for FWC, told the Orlando Sentinel the alligator that bit the youngster was 8ft 9ins long.

“She had puncture wounds but I don’t think they’re life-threatening,” he said.

The girl was treated by lifeguards and then taken to hospital, according to ABC News, but has since reportedly been released.

The alligator was caught by officials and removed from the lake.

Investigators are looking into the events that led up to the incident.

Several members of the girl’s family were nearby at the time. There are conflicting reports over whether she was sitting in the 2ft-deep water or swimming.

The park around the lake has been closed off to the public for a week while the investigation is carried out.

In 2010, a triathlete who was swimming in the lake was also attacked by an alligator and bitten seven times before he manged to fight off the animal.

The Sentinel reported there have been 263 major alligator attacks in the state since 1948, with 24 resulting in fatalities.

Signs warning people of the dangers were placed near some swimming areas and boat ramps in Orange County after the death of two-year-old Lane Graves at a lake within the Disney World resort park last year.

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