The attack happened just before midnight at the Marriott resort in Puerto Vallarta.
Hummel, a recent Novato High School graduate, described the attack to ABC7 News from her hospital bed at Marin General. She said she and her friend had decided to go for a late night swim at the resort, but they weren't even in the water when the crocodile emerged from the ocean, grabbed her right leg and pulled her into the water.
CROCODILE ATTACK: A Bay Area teenager vacationing in Puerto Vallarta was attacked and dragged into the ocean by a 12ft crocodile. This happened at the Marriott resort.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) July 27, 2021
Thankfully, Kiana Hummel survived. She is currently undergoing surgery at Marin General. pic.twitter.com/jtEMHncaxY
Sarah Laney, a bystander from St. Louis, heard Hummel scream. She and her friends ran to help.
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"It was most definitely one of the craziest, scariest things I've ever experienced," Laney told ABC7 News. "Honestly, I will never forget it when the crocodile's head came above water. I just went into shock."
Hummel said she remained calm even as she got dragged under the water. She continued to hit the crocodile as hard as she could until it finally let go of her right leg. She said she had almost escaped when the crocodile grabbed onto her left ankle and dragged her back under.
"I just remember saying, please don't leave me," Hummel recalled. "And I didn't think I was getting out that second time. That was just really bad."
Eventually, the group was able to get the crocodile to let go of Hummel and they were able to bring her to safety. Miraculously, she survived and didn't lose any limbs, although she does have extensive muscle and tissue damage all the way to the bones and is currently unable to walk.
Hummel's mother, Ariana Martinez, learned of the attack over Facetime from her home Marin County. She got on the next flight from San Francisco to Puerto Vallarta.
"I'm on the phone with her, she's yelling, 'get me an ambulance, get me an ambulance to the hospital,'" Martinez recalled of her daughter. "It took them forever."
Here is our full report on the woman who survived a crocodile attack at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) July 27, 2021
A GoFundMe has also been set up to help with her expenses here: https://t.co/L3g05seXxd https://t.co/laIUF8Aukc pic.twitter.com/mu5Ioup41B
According to Laney, who stayed with Hummel after the attack, it took 45 minutes for an ambulance to arrive. Once it did, Martinez said the hospital demanded she pay thousands of dollars before giving any treatment.
In a statement to ABC7 News, Marriott spokesperson Kerstin Sachl confirmed the crocodile attack and said, "The safety and security of our guests and associates are our top priority, and we can confirm that appropriate signage, as well as night patrolling and red flags were and are properly in place."
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"We review our plans and procedures often and work closely with the appropriate authorities on an ongoing basis," she continued. "Our staff is trained in how to respond to safety matters appropriately. We encourage all guests to be vigilant for their safety."
We spoke to both Kiana and a bystander who witnessed the attack. Both say nobody at the @Marriott warned them crocodiles were in the ocean.— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) July 27, 2021
They say they only learned later that there is one small warning sign, but it's mostly in Spanish and not lit up at night. pic.twitter.com/I0wlypqdmC
But Hummel, Martinez and Laney believe not enough was done by the hotel to warn guests that a crocodile could be in the ocean. They said they were not given a verbal warning and they only learned of the warning sign after the attack. They say it is small, mostly in Spanish and not lit up at night.
"Until that moment, never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a crocodile was on that beach. Ever," Laney said.
Laney's friend, Natalie, wrote a review of the hotel on Trip Advisor where she said: "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."
Here is how a bystander described the crocodile attack at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta: pic.twitter.com/StTjAh4KS1— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) July 27, 2021
According to a Spanish-language news report, in 2018 another woman was also attacked by a crocodile on that same beach.
Hummel and Martinez hope by sharing this story it will serve as a warning to others.
"It could have ended so much differently," Martinez said. "That call could have been a totally different call."
Hummel remains hospitalized at Marin General where she is expected to undergo a second surgery this week. Doctors say she will have a full recovery but it will take time and it's unclear if she will be able to work this summer.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help Hummel with her expenses.