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Gator Caught After Biting Man's Head

Man Pries Alligator Off His Head, Survives Attack

APOPKA, Fla. – Four days after an alligator attacked a man while he was swimming with his 7-year-old son at a state park, a licensed trapper believes he has captured and killed the animal.

Just after 9 p.m. Tuesday, a trapper caught the 9-foot alligator with bait and euthanized it near Wekiva Springs State Park. It's believed to be the same animal involved in the attack because of its size and the location where it was found.

"I felt a gator's mouth clamping down on my head. So, with all my strength, I reached up and I pried the gator's mouth off my head," said David Bostwick while resting at his home Monday evening. "It's the kind of thing you think can never happen to you."

Fifty stitches and a few staples later, Bostwick said he's grateful to be alive to tell the story of how he escaped the jaws of a Florida gator. Last Friday, he took his son canoeing in the Wekiva Springs State Park. The pair got out to snorkel not far from King's Landing.

"(The alligator) was biting me from behind and I pried the gator off," he recalled. "He was actually big enough to get my whole head in his mouth."

Bleeding, Bostwick and his son jumped in the canoe and paddled to shore. A homeowner about 100 feet away took them to a nearby fire station, and paramedics took him to a hospital. Despite contact with several agencies, no one ever called to get the gator.

"I couldn't believe that Monday we started calling and absolutely nothing had been done," he said. "The park and all these places had been open -- business as usual all weekend."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission confirmed it is investigating what happened but had no record of the incident until Monday afternoon when the victim's wife called. A spokewoman for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, which overseas the state park, referred questions to FWC.

Gator expert, Israel Dupont, said the alligator likely released him because he put up a fight. Dupont said the animal probably attacked because it was hungry, surprised by Bostwick, or was defending its territory. Dupont said snorkeling is one of the most dangerous activities one can do in alligator-infested waters.

Locals said they have seen a large gator lurking nearby in the past few weeks.

The area is a prime location for alligators and is also popular among visitors to the state park, many of whom still had no idea about the attack.

"It's kind of scary to think that nothing happened to deter people from coming in," said Samantha Shye. "We were not even notified when we came into the park."

"It won't deter me from being here because I'm used to it," said Nick Cazessus. "But I think they should warn people because I saw plenty of people with kids."

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.