South Carolina diver reveals how he fought off a huge alligator with a SCREWDRIVER after the beast pulled him to the bottom of the river and ‘shook him like a rag doll’ just as his tank ran out of air

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • William Georgitis was attacked by the alligator in the Cooper River
  • He escaped by stabbing it in the eye and mouth with screwdriver
  • Attack left him with broken and dislocated arm needing nine screws

A South Carolina diver has revealed how he fought off a ‘massive’ alligator with a screwdriver after the beast pulled him to the bottom of a river just as his tank of air was running out.

William Georgitis narrowly escaped with his life after the huge reptile attacked him on April 15.

The fossil hunter was at his usual spot in the Cooper River when he spotted the alligator which made a ‘beeline’ for him.

He realized the creature was about to try and roll him so grabbed it in a bearhug.

‘I got my screwdriver that I use on the bottom of the river, and I stabbed him in the eye, and when I did that, he shook me like a ragdoll. Threw me off of him- I grabbed ahold of him because I didn’t want him to roll again,’ he told WCBD-TV.

William Georgitis fought off a ‘massive’ alligator with a screwdriver after the beast pulled him to the bottom of a river just as his tank of air was running out

He narrowly escaped with his life after the huge reptile attacked him on April 15

He narrowly escaped with his life after the huge reptile attacked him on April 15

The fossil hunter was at his usual spot in the Cooper River when he spotted the alligator which made a 'beeline' for him

The fossil hunter was at his usual spot in the Cooper River when he spotted the alligator which made a ‘beeline’ for him

His arm was still clamped tightly in the gator’s powerful jaws when it plunged 50 feet underwater taking Georgitis with it.

‘At that point, he took me to the bottom, and I could tell because my ears started popping and it got real black, and I hit the bottom with my shoulders and my neck and I could feel his weight pressing down on me,’ he said.

‘I couldn’t get up to his eye again, so I went for his gum line and tried to stab him between the teeth where the soft spots were, and that seemed to work. He shook me again, pretty hard down there, and at that point, I ran out of air.’ 

The experienced diver felt sure he was about to die.

‘I knew that that was the end of my life at that moment,’ he said.

But miraculously he was able to wrench his arm out and begin pushing towards the surface.

‘I just thought that I tore it off and when I got back to the surface, it was flopping down hanging like a wet noodle. The guy in the boat dragged me. I couldn’t pull myself up.,’ he explained.

He was eventually pulled out of the water at Bushy Park Boat Landing before rushing to the hospital. 

Georgitis was left with gruesome puncture wounds on his arm as well as a broken and dislocated arm which surgeons managed patch back up using nine screws

Georgitis was left with gruesome puncture wounds on his arm as well as a broken and dislocated arm which surgeons managed patch back up using nine screws

Georgitis was likely attacked by an American alligator, the only species native to South Carolina

Georgitis was likely attacked by an American alligator, the only species native to South Carolina

Georgitis was left with gruesome puncture wounds on his arm as well as a broken and dislocated arm which surgeons managed patch back up using nine screws. 

‘He was huge,’ Georgitis said of the gator.  ‘I don’t even know how big he was because I was just right there. He felt massive.’

He is now warning other divers of the ‘aggressive’ creature. 

‘It’s a well-known spot and this thing is huge. He didn’t even take a second to attack me. He was on me as soon as he saw me. Whoever else is out there diving please be careful,’ he said. 

Georgitis does not have medical insurance but is accepting donations through his Venmo @William-Georgitis-1 to help pay for his long road to recovery.

The American alligator is the only species native to South Carolina. The reptile was previously classified as endangered but has been downgraded to just ‘threatened’ after a population rebound. 

While alligator attacks are not unheard of they are relatively rare in the US, with just six fatal encounters reported a year on average according to wildlife encyclopedia AZ Animals. 

South Carolina

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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