Man From South Carolina Survives Deadly Alligator Attack

A South Carolina diver has described his encounter with an enormous alligator, saying he believed he was moments from death. William Georgitis, from West Ashley, was looking for fossils at the bottom of the Cooper River when he realized the animal was observing him. When he swam to the surface, the alligator launched, biting the arm he raised in self-defense.

Mr. Georgitis continued his physical fight with the beast as it dragged him underwater. In desperation, he took a screwdriver from his pocket and stabbed the alligator in the eye, which he said only made it more aggressive, pulling him further underwater and eventually to the very bottom, where it pinned him to the river bed. “I knew I was going to die right then and there,” Georgitis said.

At that point, the diver decided to sacrifice an arm and tried to separate himself from it. The subsequent details are unclear, but the diver remembered reaching the surface, stunned to see his arm still attached. “I guess he was tired of fighting me,” he said before paramedics rushed him to the hospital, where doctors were able to save his arm.

There are around 100,000 alligators in South Carolina, and attacks on humans are infrequent but increasing. Last year, a 69-year-old woman died when one of the ancient creatures attacked her while walking her dog near a pond in Hilton Head. Holly Jenkins was only the sixth recorded person to die from an alligator attack in the state, but experts noted that all six fatal attacks occurred in the seven years leading up to 2023.

Bonnie Walker, Cassandra Cline, Cynthia Covert, Michael Burstein, and Nancy Becker died between 2016 and 2023, and in one incident, Cynthia Covert approached the animal to take photographs and even tried to pet it. The beast responded by dragging her into a nearby river and killing her.

Experts note that most alligators are not aggressive to humans, but they can be highly unpredictable.