When he saw his dog Gunner, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy, caught in the jaws of an alligator, Richard Wilbanks, 74, dove underwater and fought the reptile without even letting his cigar fall from the mouth.
It happened when the man was walking his dog near the waters of a pond in Estero, Florida (USA).
"It came out of the water like a missile, I never thought that an alligator could be so fast," Wilbanks said in an interview with CNN.
Cameras from the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fSTOP foundation captured the moment on video, where Wilbanks can be seen submerging his head without hesitation as he tries to grab the alligator.
After a struggle, the man emerges with the reptile's jaw in his hands, while the Gunner was still trapped.
While trying to free his dog, he drags the alligator to the edge of the pond, struggling with it, until the dog manages to escape.
After the event, Gunner went to the vet to check the severity of his injuries and, although he suffered a stomach wound, otherwise he is fine.
Wilbanks, for his part, was left with the memory of the alligator bite in his hands.
Despite what happened, the man assured that alligators "are part of nature and also of our lives."
But, from now on, you will keep your dog at least ten feet from the pond.