“I Bear Hugged Him So He Wouldn’t Death Roll Me” – South Carolina Man Recounts Surviving Harrowing Alligator Attack

alligator attack
Will Georgitis

The situation is extremely dire when you are forced to bear hug an alligator in order to survive.

Will Georgitis, a fossil diver in South Carolina, was completing a dive in the Cooper River when his worst nightmare played out in real life. The experienced diver was prepared for a moment like this, though he always hoped he would never have to face off against an alligator.

Georgitis described the initial stages of the terrifying encounter to the Post and Courier, saying:

“It was a really good dive. I found a lot of teeth. I was at the end of my tank so I came up with about 600 psi, and when I came up, the gator was about 20 feet away from me. I was probably 50 yards away from the bank, but the gator was in the river next to me and as soon as I popped up, he beelined it straight at me.”

I can’t even imagine…

So the situation for Will went from bad to worse as he watched the large alligator come swimming right towards him. Obviously, a gator has the advantage in the water, but the fossil diver wasn’t going to go down without a fight:

“I could tell he wasn’t going to stop. He got about a foot away from me and he opened his mouth and turned to bite. I bear hugged him so he wouldn’t death roll me, and I didn’t want to lose my arm. I started trying to stab him in the eye. I got him one time really good and he shook me off like a rag doll.

So I bear hugged him again and at that point he dove me down to the bottom of the river. I guess he was tired of fighting me. He just wanted to drown me at that point. We hit the bottom of the river about 50 feet deep. I could tell we were going down because my ears started popping.”

Georgitis was then stuck between a “croc” (actually an alligator, but it works better here) and a hard place (actually a soft place since it’s the bottom of the river). I had to kind of change up that saying since it worked better, but you get what I’m saying.

Things were looking bleak for the diver as he literally got pinned down to the river bottom by the gator, and had his oxygen tank run out around the same time:

“He landed right on me and pinned me down. He was trying to hold me down and at that point my arm was broken and flopping around. I could barely find the spike again that I had originally stabbed him with…

Finally got a hold of it again and I couldn’t reach his eyes, so I started stabbing him in the gums by his teeth. He shook me again pretty hard and at that point I ran out of air in my tank. I knew that was the end, that was it.”

However, survival instincts kicked in, and in an act of true desperation, Georgitis decided he would sacrifice his arm in order to live. With his right arm still stuck in the gator’s mouth, Will planted both feet on the gator and pushed off with all of his might.

It was then when he had prepared to lose his arm, but luckily, the teeth just grazed his skin as he propelled upwards. Once he was free, he swam to the surface as best as he could, and fortunatlely for him, a friend in a boat was nearby and was able to pick him up and transport him to safety.

All in all, it’s probably one of the crazier survival stories you’ll ever hear, and you can hear it straight from the man who fought a gator and won in the video below:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock