Feb. 10 (UPI) -- A Florida man helped rescue a bald eagle that was being attacked by an alligator because he "couldn't watch America's symbol die."
David Anderson hopped into a pond in the back of his Parrish home to rescue the eagle from the gator's clutches while a neighbor called Justin Matthews of Matthews Wildlife Rescue for help.
"David an older guy that is on chemo waded in the water and pulled the eagle from the gators mouth! Is that crazy or what?" Matthews wrote in a Facebook post. "He said he couldn't watch America's symbol die."
Anderson said he risked his own safety to go into the water and rescue the struggling eagle due to its symbolic relevance.
"It's our bald eagle. It's our treasure," he told Fox 13. "It stands for who we are and what we are."
Matthews said the eagle had a mate in a nearby nest, which he drove by while delivering the wounded raptor to Save Our Seabirds.
The eagle's legs had been rendered immobile after the attack and he was ultimately euthanized by a veterinarian in Osprey.
"I knew that it wouldn't make it." Matthews said.
While the eagle did not survive the attack, Matthews praised Anderson for giving it the opportunity to die peacefully.