Jeffrey Heim suffered a cranium fracture within the assault, which occurred final Sunday in Sarasota County. He wanted 34 staples to shut the wound. He additionally suffered puncture wounds on his hand from an alligator chunk.
The 25-year-old Tampa man thought he’d been hit by a ship propeller till he noticed the alligator taking a look at him.
“It felt very heavy and it really felt like it was moving very fast,” he advised CNN. “It felt blunt. It felt like a blunt force. I didn’t feel the cutting, I felt a pulling.”
Heim says he’d dived within the river a number of occasions earlier than and had entered the water at a public spot close to a restaurant.
Heim spent about 10 minutes in search of gators within the water whereas he placed on his wetsuit, however did not see something earlier than he received within the water.
He was free diving, with out scuba tanks, so he took just a few deep breaths and dove down in hopes of discovering megalodon enamel within the gravel on the backside of the river.
Heim was underwater for about 45 seconds when the alligator struck.
After the preliminary bites, Heim says he was capable of again away and climb again onto the river financial institution because the alligator lunged at him.
He says an ex-firefighter on the restaurant received a primary help package and bandaged his head whereas others known as 911.
“I was so lucky that I was in a public place and that there were people who I was able to call over,” he mentioned.
Heim says he felt actually drained and simply wished to fall asleep after the chunk. But he feared he was going to die.
Heim says he joked and made mild of what occurred when he first received to the hospital. But he had “a very religious and emotional moment” as he was about to get a CT scan, when he realized how fortunate he was to outlive.
“The situation really just emotionally came crashing down on me,” he mentioned. “I cried so hard that day for about an hour or two. (I) just could not stop crying and I was thanking God.”
He spent a day-and-a-half within the hospital and says his swelling has gone down quite a bit. He continues to be taking antibiotics to combat off an infection.
“I was probably too comfortable diving during mating season,” Heim mentioned. “I should have known better.”
Despite the severity of his accidents, Heim says he hopes the alligator is not killed. He blamed the assault on mistaken identification.
FWC officers and a contracted nuisance alligator trapper had been despatched to research the incident, a spokesman for the company advised CNN in an electronic mail.
One alligator, a 6-foot-4-inch feminine, was faraway from the realm and the trapper is working to take away one other alligator within the neighborhood, the spokesman mentioned.
Captured nuisance alligators change into the property of the trapper and are often processed for his or her meat and conceal, however are generally bought to animal displays or zoos.
Heim says diving for fossils is his approach of stress-free, and that a lot of what he finds goes into his assortment. He turns a few of the enamel into jewellery, which he sells. He says he donates a few of the proceeds to advertise shark conservation.
Heim says he plans to maintain diving as soon as he is properly sufficient, however he’ll steer clear of the Myakka River.