A 13-year-old Florida boy shared his harrowing account after an alligator grabbed his leg while he was playing with friends at a creek near Orlando this week.
Gabriel Klimis told FOX 35 that after he jumped from a rope off a bridge that crossed Howell Creek in Winter Springs Tuesday, “one of my feet was on the sand and then the gator got my other one and then pulled me back.”
He said once the alligator grabbed onto his right leg, “I knew that if he didn’t let go, there was no getting him off because his jaw was so tied on. There’s no getting out of that.”
Klimis, sitting next to his mom at his home for the interview Friday, explained that he held onto a stick on the shore to keep from being pulled in.
“He kept pulling, so then I just tried to hit him and then he let go and then I ran up as fast as I could,” Gabriel said.
The 13-year-old went to the closest house and called his mother for help.
Allison Klimis said she told Gabriel to call 911, admitting his revelation left her in “complete shock. Terror, of course. Super scared.”
Gabriel, however, appeared calm during the call he placed to 911, telling the dispatcher, “Yeah, I can walk. I just got bit by a gator.”
“It just stings a bit but I’m good,” He added in the call, saying his wound wasn’t “bleeding too bad, but my skin’s like open pretty good.”
When asked by the dispatcher where the alligator was “now,” he answered, “I don’t know. I got out of the water as fast as I could.”
The teen was taken to a hospital where he received stitches on his leg.
His mom, a doctor, told FOX 35, “In the end, I’m just blessed, grateful, thankful that the angels were watching over him and God was there because I know without that, my son could definitely be gone.”
But Gabriel said the incident won’t deter him from enjoying more summer fun.
“It’s not going to stop me from swimming somewhere else, like in a different creek or something, with my friends and having fun,” he explained.
The family told FOX 35 a nuisance trapper killed an alligator in Howell Springs after the attack, but they didn’t know if it was the one that bit Gabriel.
In February, an 85-year-old woman was killed by a 10-foot alligator while walking her dog near her retirement community Fort Pierce, Florida.
And last month a man’s arm had to be amputated after he was attacked by an alligator near a pond outside of a bar in Fort Pierce, Florida.