'Grace of God' saved Florida swimmer from gator attack

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A victim of a gator attack credits the “grace of God” with her survival after she was left with an injured arm. Felicitie Marie Gillette described the panic she felt during her late-night swim in Lake Hernando in Inverness, Florida.

According to Florida Fish & Wildlife officials, Gillette waded into the lake around 1 a.m. when an alligator, nearly 6 feet long, grabbed her left arm and tried to pull her underwater.

She described herself as homeless and resides in the park. Gillette explained to FOX 13 that she uses the lake to freshen up, which she did at 1 a.m. Wednesday. 

“All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I felt his mouth open and I looked as he was chomping down on my arm,” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ It latched on and started shaking back and forth. It was kind of dragging me down. I don’t know what caused him to let go, but as soon as he let go, I ran up out of the water.”

Gillette has extensive lacerations from just below her shoulder down to her wrist. She said she is on antibiotics.

FWC said trappers have been on the hunt for the alligator since then. Overnight, they said they caught two gators approximately the same length at the one that attacks Gillette. Until they know they have captured the suspected reptile, swimming will be prohibited at Lake Hernando. ‘No Swimming’ signs remained up on Thursday morning.

While Gillette was swimming in a designated area, she said she learned the hard way that swimming at night is never advised, according to officials. Wildlife experts said that’s when gators are the most active and likely searching for a meal.