GENEVA -- A 17-year-old was taken to South Seminole Hospital after being bitten in the head Monday by an alligator.
Andrew Hudson was at the Little Big Econ State Forest in Geneva with a friend swimming in the Econ River when the 9- to 10-foot gator bit the teen in the head and back.
"Basically we were floating down the Econ River, kinda swimming and then out of nowhere a gator came up behind me and just basically bit me in the head," Hudson said. "At first I didn't know what it was, so my reaction just started swinging and took off swimming as fast as I could to get away from it."
The area is open for swimming, and Hudson said he didn't see any gators prior to being bitten, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. But he also said he knew they lived on the river.
A friend ran about a mile to find a park ranger. Hudson was taken to South Seminole Hospital and released Monday night, with 19 stitches and three hours of emergency treatment.
Hudson says the gator bite was quick, powerful and painful. But he hopes to have all his stitches and staples removed next week.
The Little Big Econ State Forest is a wilderness area with a trail for hiking and fishing areas along the river.