A $2.25 million lawsuit filed in Federal court against the Iberostar Resort claims that the area where Edward Lunger was attacked was marked only by yellow caution tape, which he took to mean “grounds under repair.” The lawsuit also says staffers at the resort told Lunger and his playing partners that other golfers had been previously bitten on the course and that crocodiles had been introduced on the property “as a tourist attraction and profit-enhancing lure.”
A golfer from New York’s Long Island lost two fingers in an encounter with a crocodile on a golf course in Cancun, Mexico where his arm was originally bitten up to his elbow, the New York Post reported, and that only ended when his playing partner bashed the reptile on the head with a 40-pound boulder.
The attack occurred after Edward Lunger hooked a ball to the left of the fairway at the lush Iberostar Cancun Golf Club in Mexico, the Post reported. “It was in the sand,” Lunger recalled.
The 50-year-old engineer took a couple of practice swings and then chipped out of the bunker, and then heard leaves rustle, the Post reported.
“All of a sudden, his arm went back, and his head went back,” playing partner Mark Martin told the Post. “I saw the crocodile leap up.”
The angry female chomped down on Lunger’s left arm up to his elbow, using its tail and claws to drag Lunger to the sand, the men said.
“She pulled me back and flipped me, and I went to the ground,” Lunger said.
The 5-foot-8, 180-pound resident of Holtsville, N.Y. then managed to brace himself by getting a knee on the ground, the Post reported.
“The crocodile was holding me down, and I pulled myself out,” he said. “I don’t remember even doing that.”
Martin jumped out of his golf cart and, in what the Post described as an adrenaline-fueled act of courage, grabbed a 40-pound boulder and smashed it onto the crocodile’s head just as Lunger freed himself.
“That’s when I used the opportunity to run with Eddie,” said Martin, 52, also of Holtsville, N.Y.
The men told the Post that they then used golf towels to make a tourniquet on Lunger’s injured arm. “I’m thinking my whole hand is off,” Lunger recalled. “I couldn’t feel my hand. It was like my whole body was on fire.”
Paramedics took Lunger to a private hospital where, he claims, he was forced to pay the $17,800 bill up front before he could get treatment. The men and two other friends split the tab on their credit cards.
Doctors managed to reattach Lunger’s index finger, the Post reported, but he lost his middle finger and most of his ring finger.
“I don’t blame the crocodile,” Lunger said. But he does blame the golf course, because he claims there were no warnings of dangers from crocodile attacks.
Lunger told the Post that he stepped near yellow caution tape after locating his ball, but thought nothing of it. “That means ‘Grounds Under Repair’ in America,” said Lunger, whom the Post described as a veteran golfer with a 15 handicap.
Staffers at the resort also told Lunger that crocs had gored golfers previously on the course, according to a lawsuit he filed in a Brooklyn, N.Y. Federal court in August against Iberostar for the July 1 incident.
The $2.25 million suit alleges that the resort, which charged Lunger $79 for the round, introduced crocodiles to the golf course “as a marketing tourist attraction and hence profit-enhancing lure,” the Post reported.
Adding insult to his injuries, Lunger also claimed, Iberostar representatives began pressuring him to sign papers absolving the resort of responsibility — and when that failed, allegedly spread rumors that Lunger prompted the attack by teasing the croc with chicken.
“We came with nothing,” Martin fumed to the Post. “We rented the clubs there. We [bought] the balls there. Where would we be getting chicken?”
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