Diver is Trapped Underwater by an Alligator and Has to Decide Whether to Lose an Arm or His Life

Diver is Trapped Underwater by an Alligator and Has to Decide Whether to Lose an Arm or His Life

GOOSE CREEK, S.C.— Will Georgitis, pinned by an alligator to the bottom of the Cooper River in South Carolina, decided that losing his arm might be his only chance of survival.

Georgitis reported to The Post and Courier that the alligator had clamped its jaws around his arm and, when he attempted to break free by stabbing it with the screwdriver he uses to scrape fossilized shark teeth off the riverbed, the gator shook him and hauled him down 50 feet (15 meters).

As he told the Charleston newspaper, “I knew I was going to die right then and there.”

Georgitis came up from his dive on April 15 and was almost out of air when the alligator struck. The gator’s jaws crushed his arm he raised in defense as his tank emptied. Georgitis reasoned he had one more shot.

On ABC’s Good Morning America, Georgitis said, “I put my feet up against him just launched back as hard as I possibly could, and somehow ripped my arm out and not off.”

Georgitis was rushed to shore and the hospital after desperately swimming to a friend’s waiting boat. He said he needed “a ton” of staples to bind up the wounds from the alligator’s fangs because his arm was shattered.

Probably multiple procedures and a six-month recuperation period. His family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to collect funds for his medical expenses.

“Every second going forward is a blessing to me,” Georgitis said on Good Morning America.

Georgitis dives into the Charleston area often in search of shark teeth and other treasures. While he has seen alligators before, they often are sunning on the back or keep far away. He has visited the location where he was assaulted at least thirty times.

The fact that this one rushed to him as soon as he appeared astounded him.

Investigating the attack is the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.

About 100,000 alligators are found in South Carolina; they are federally protected animals with tight regulations on when they can be killed or removed, according to wildlife officials.

Rarely, alligators attack pets on land or someone stumbles into a pond. Since 2016, there have been six deadly alligator attacks in South Carolina.

2007 saw a snorkeler in Lake Moultrie assaulted and had his limb ripped off by a 550-pound (250-kg) alligator. Five nurses at a picnic were able to provide him first aid until paramedics came as he staggered shore in search of assistance.

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