Diver pinned under water by an alligator figured he had choice. Lose his arm or lose his life

GOOSE CREEK, S.C. — Out of air and pinned to the bottom of South Carolina’s Cooper River by an alligator, Will Georgitis decided his only chance of survival would be to lose his arm.

The alligator had its jaws clamped around Georgitis’ arm and after trying to escape by stabbing him with the screwdriver he uses to pry fossilized shark teeth from the riverbed, the alligator shook the diver and dragged him fifty feet down . told The Post and Courier.

“I knew at that moment that I was going to die,” he told the Charleston newspaper.

The alligator attacked Georgitis on April 15 when he surfaced almost out of air after his dive. His tank emptied as the alligator’s jaws crushed the arm he raised in defense. Georgitis thought he had one last chance.

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

Georgitis frantically swam to a friend’s waiting boat and was taken to shore and hospital. His arm was broken and he needed “a lot” of staples to close the wounds from the alligator’s teeth, he said.

There are likely several surgeries and a six-month recovery. His family has set up a page on GoFundMe to raise money to pay his medical bills.

“Every moment from now on is a blessing to me,” Georgitis told Good Morning America.

Georgitis regularly dives in search of shark teeth and other fossils in the waters around Charleston. He has been to the spot where he was attacked at least 30 times and although he has seen alligators before, they usually lie on their backs sunning themselves or stay far away.

He was astounded that it came at him as soon as he surfaced.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is aware of the attack and is investigating.

South Carolina has about 100,000 alligators, which are federally protected species and have strict rules about when they can be removed or killed, wildlife officials said.

Attacks are rare and usually occur on land when alligators attack pets or someone falls into a pond. South Carolina has had at least six fatal alligator attacks since 2016.

A 500-pound alligator attacked and tore off a snorkeler’s arm in Lake Moultire in 2007. He staggered to shore looking for help and five nurses at a picnic were able to give him first aid until paramedics arrived.