WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. (WSVN) — A 13-year-old boy had a harrowing encounter with a reptile in Winter Springs, narrowly escaping with his life after being bitten by an alligator in his right hip and mid-thigh area, but the resilient teenager managed to flee the scene and promptly dialed 911 for help.

“I’m OK, though. I can walk and I can stand” Gabriel Klimis told dispatchers. “It just stings a little bit, but I’m good.”

When questioned about the alligator’s whereabouts, the teenager admitted he was unaware of its current location after he hastily retreated from the creek.

His mother, a doctor who was not present during the incident, advised Klimis to contact emergency services. Promptly responding to the distress call, paramedics arrived shortly before 7 p.m. and transported Klimis to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Local authorities shed light on the elusive nature of the reptilian predators.

“It doesn’t have to be very deep water for an alligator to fully hide, so depending on the size of the alligator, they’re easily able to hide in any body of water and stay well hidden,” cautioned one officer.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was notified of the incident. The organization released a statement that read in part:

“On June 20, 2023, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) received a report of a juvenile who was bitten by an alligator near Howell Creek in Seminole County. The FWC responded to the scene and the victim was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. A trapper was dispatched and the FWC is investigating the incident.”

A specialized nuisance alligator trapper was dispatched to the area to apprehend the potentially dangerous reptile. The trapper outlined the strategic approach to capture the elusive alligator.

“We set traps back here, we’re all going to pull out right now and quiet down and hopefully he’ll come back and take our bait,” said trapper Jerry Flynn.

The FWC provided safety tips in case anyone comes into contact with alligators:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet
  • Never feed an alligator (it’s illegal – and dangerous)

If you’re concerned about an alligator, contact FWC’s Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR. 

With breeding season drawing to a close and nesting season commencing, experts advise utmost vigilance when near bodies of water, as alligators tend to exhibit heightened protectiveness and aggression during this period.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox