NEAR FORT MYERS, Fla. (WSVN) — A professional golf diver who was attacked by an alligator near Fort Myers is on the road to recovery and sharing his account of the terrifying ordeal.
FaceTiming from his hospital bed, Scott Lahodik was asked how he was feeling.
“Like a gator grabbed me,” he replied.
But on Friday, his condition was no laughing matter. “He could have ripped my arm off. He could have grabbed my head. He could have drowned me,” said Lahodik.
There are so many ways things could have ended up worse when a 10-and-a-half-foot alligator attacked the 51-year-old. “He just came and, I mean, full blast, grabbed my arm all the way back in his throat,” he said, “and then he started to roll with me.”
Lahodik was removing golf balls from a lake at the Rotonda Golf and Country Club. He said he never saw the gator coming and knew he had to think fast.
“I knew I had to do something, so I started punching him up by the eye, and he let go,” said Lahodik.
He then got on a golf cart and raced to the clubhouse. “I was going to lay down on the green, but I knew if I did, I didn’t think I would make it,” he said.
“It was really a horrendous attack,” said Maritza Lahodik, the victim’s wife.
Maritza said she will never forget the frantic call she received from her husband moments after he escaped the gator’s grip. “I got a call of him screaming on the other line with a gut-wrenching sound, telling me that he had been attacked by an alligator,” she said.
Trappers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission were called out to catch the reptile. They said it weighed between 500 and 600 pounds.
“The guy is lucky he got away from it,” said trapper Bill Conrod.
“This was a miracle. I believe God was protecting him,” said Maritza.
Lahodik’s family said he is lucky to be alive, but the gator’s bad bite has left him on a long road to recovery.
“There’s probably over 400 staples and stitches, and we’re just praying that no infection sets in over the next couple of days,” he said.
According to reports, that alligator will be euthanized.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help with Lahodik’s hospital bills. If you would like to make a donation, click here.
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