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Sheriff's deputy with an AR-15 rescues girl trapped in tree by 9-foot alligator

A Florida sheriff's deputy rescued a teenage girl who was trapped in a tree by a large alligator. (Rhona Wise/AFP/Getty Images)

A 15-year-old Florida girl found herself hanging on to a tree for her life Friday afternoon as a large and aggressive alligator waited, hissing just feet below her, according to the Washington Post.

The girl, Jordan Broderick, clung to a tree branch nearly to the point of exhaustion until a sheriff's deputy showed up and made quick work of the gator, saving the girl's life.

Before the officer arrived, however, there was a half an hour of panic as Jordan's family feared for her life and frantically communicated with 911 dispatch.

"Oh my god! My daughter is going to be f***ing dead!" Jordan's mother is heard screaming on a recording of the call.

What happened?

Jordan and her family visited Ocala National Forest in central Florida. Jordan was floating on a raft in a creek when a nine-foot alligator emerged out of the water and headed her way.

Fortunately, Jordan saw the alligator coming and climbed up a tree branch that was hanging over the water. The alligator came to the base of the tree, waiting for her to come down.

Meanwhile, her mother was on the phone with a dispatcher, pleading for help to be sent their way.

"My daughter is stuck in a fricking tree and there are gators surrounding her," Jordan's mother told the dispatcher. "We can't get her out. She's just 15."

Finally, Lake County Sheriff's Deputy Mitch Blackmon was the first to arrive on the scene. When he got there, he knew exactly what to do.

"I fired one single .223 round from my Bushmaster AR-15, killing the alligator," Blackmon wrote on the incident report.

The shot apparently killed the alligator immediately, as it sunk to the bottom of the creek without thrashing at all. Its body was recovered later that day with a bullet wound to the head.

Wrong place, wrong time?

Ron Magill, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Zoological Park and Gardens, told the Post that it was the end of mating season, causing the animals to become extremely aggressive.

From the Post:

Female alligators are particularly territorial and protective of their young in the summer until about September, Magill said, when raccoons and vultures seek out the eggs.

And while alligators avoid humans, they will become violent when people encroach. In this case, Jordan was likely in the wrong place at the wrong time, Magill said.

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