South Carolina diver reveals how he fought off huge alligator with screwdriver after it dragged him to bottom of a river

A South Carolina man miraculously survived a harrowing alligator attack in what he believed was going to be the last moments of his life.

William Georgitis, of West Ashley, was scuba diving in the Cooper River on Monday afternoon. He was hunting for fossils at the bottom of the river, and had dove in this particular spot about 40 times in the past six years.

Georgitis rose to the surface of the water when he realized that he was being targeted by a huge alligator.

“When I surfaced, he was about 20 feet away from me and as soon as he saw me, he launched himself out of the water. I mean he was coming at me, almost hydroplaning on the top. He was so determined to get there,” Georgitis told WCBD-TV.

He remembered, “Put my arm up defensively and he grabbed hold of it. I mean, he was huge. I don’t even know how big he was because I was just right there. He felt massive.”

“I knew his first move once he grabbed me was to roll me,” the diver said. “So, I bear-hugged him so he wouldn’t death-roll me. I wrapped my arm around his head and my legs around his neck.”

The beast dragged him and his scuba tank under the water while his arm was locked inside the alligator’s clamped-down jaw.

“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,” Georgitis recalled. “Threw me off of him. I grabbed ahold of him because I didn’t want him to roll again.”

“I guess he was tired of fighting me, so he wanted to drown me at that point,” he said.

The gator pulled him all the way to the bottom of the river, which Georgitis estimates to be about 50 feet deep.

Georgitis hit the riverbed with his shoulders and neck while the weight of the ferocious animal was pressing down on him.

“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,” Georgitis said. “He shook me again, pretty hard down there, and at that point, I ran out of air.”

“I knew I was going to die right then and there,” Georgitis said.

However, he would unbelievably survive the terrifying animal attack to tell his story.

“I wrenched back as hard as I could trying to rip my arm off at the elbow,” Georgitis said. “And I got out. I don’t know how, 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.”

Georgitis was rushed to the hospital. He thankfully did not lose his arm from the vicious alligator attack, but he may need surgeries in the future.

He contacted the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources about the animal attack, which will send a team to search for the alligator.

Georgitis is warning other divers about the dangerous creature.

“This gator is extremely aggressive and he’s right there where everybody else dives. 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,” Georgitis cautioned. “Whoever else is out there diving please be careful.”

Man recovering after Cooper River alligator

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