A vacation trip to Puerto Vallarta took a dangerous turn when 18-year-old Kiana Hummel was attacked by a crocodile. The girl was taking a nighttime swim with her friend when a crocodile emerged from the water and bit down on her leg.
During the horrific attack, the crocodile tried to drag Hummel into the water twice. But she was able to fight off the animal by punching it in the nose. Her quick thinking bought her time, allowing a group of bystanders to come and help her escape.
Hummel suffered severe muscle and tissue damage from the animal’s bite. Miraculously she didn’t lose a limb in the attack. She is currently staying at Marin General Hospital in California while she waits for her second surgery.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for the California girl to help with her extensive hospital bills. The page, set up by Hummel’s friend, lets people know how amazing this girl is. “Kiana’s quick thinking, adrenaline, and the will to survive and live to tell this story is one to always remember,” it said in the GoFundMe post. “With this amazing second chance at life brings a long road to recovery, healing, and emotional trauma.”
The crocodile incident happened just before midnight outside the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa where the girls were staying. When the crocodile bit down a second time, Hummel says she was afraid she wouldn’t make it.
Thankfully her screams alerted Sarah Laney from St. Louis and her friends who were sitting on the beach nearby. They rushed to help. “It was most definitely one of the craziest, scariest things I’ve ever experienced,” Laney said. “Honestly, I will never forget it when the crocodile’s head came above water. I just went into shock.”
Now, safe in the hospital, Hummel is fighting for a different reason. Her mother, Ariana Martinez, flew down to Mexico to be with her daughter after the attack. The pair are claiming that the Marriott Resort should have done more to warn guests about the crocodiles.
Hummel and her friend say that they were never given any verbal warning about the crocodile danger during their stay at the resort. They also didn’t learn about the warning sign near the beach until after the attack. They say it’s small, not well lit at night, and mostly written in Spanish.
On their TripAdvisor review of the resort, Hummel’s friend writes, “I understand you don’t want to ‘scare’ guests, but the following day there should’ve been big YELLOW signs to warn of the attack…my group is TRAUMATIZED by this experience.”
A spokesperson for the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa, Kerstin Sachl, says that they care about the safety of their guests. “We can confirm that appropriate signage, as well as night patrolling and red flags were and are properly in place. We review our plans and procedures often and work closely with the appropriate authorities on an ongoing basis. Our staff is trained in how to respond to safety matters appropriately. We encourage all guests to be vigilant for their safety.”
Hummel is hoping that the story of her attack acts as a warning to others because it could have ended a lot differently. Her doctors say that she will recover from her injuries, but that it will be a long road ahead.
Another TripAdvisor review of the hotel featured an eyewitness account of what happened: “The room was clean, although had a bit of a moldy smell. The food and staff were absolutely excellent, although I wish there were more dinner options available on site. Based on those items alone I would’ve highly recommended this hotel.. however and this is a HUGE however, the only deterring factor for my not recommending to others is the fact that my group of friends RESCUED a young girl from a 12 ft+ CROCODILE,” the guest said in the review.
“I know you have ‘signs’ but you need MORE. There needs to be a rope or a gate to close off the beach at night, it is not safe at all. One guy strolling the beach with a wimpy dim flashlight is unacceptable, there should be at least two patrollers.”