PEMBROKE PINES, Fla. -

A 6-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after being attacked by an alligator.

It happened at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge in Boynton Beach on Friday.

Joey Welch, 6, was about to go canoeing with his dad when the child ran near a dock and fell into shallow water. 

"I went in it and there was a splash. The alligator just swam into me and clamped my arm," said Joey Welch.

Welch's father, Joseph Welch, jumped into the water and began punching the gator before help arrived. 

"This good Samaritan kicked the gator underneath the belly about 3 to 4 times, and the gator decided after getting kicked and punched, he finally released him and I was able to get my son and walk to shore," said Joseph Welch.

The child was taken to Holy Cross Hospital where doctors said it was miracle his arm wasn't torn off.

"He could have squished my son's arm like a cracker," said Joseph Welch.

The family said wildlife officials captured the gator and put it down as a result of the attack.