A 17-year-old boy who was attacked by an alligator shared his amazing story of survival.
Andrew Hudson says he was swimming with friends in the Little Econ River near Geneva, a place he loved to both swim and fish. After using a rope swing, he and a friend floated down the river. He says he had not seen gators that day, but was well aware of their presence.
"I was cautious about them. I was looking all the time, but I never really thought that that would happen, so I wasn't really worried."
With his friend beside him, Hudson says he never saw the 9-to-10 foot gator coming.
"Out of nowhere, he just came up behind me. I didn't see him or nothing. All I felt was a big thud and felt the pressure on my head, and just straight took me under," says Hudson. "I felt like the belly of him on my back and on my side. I started swinging and hitting a couple of times, and right when he let go, I started swimming as fast as I could."
After Hudson made sure his friend also made it to safety, he climbed up onto the bank of the river on the opposite side of the trail where he wanted to be.
"My head hurt like crazy, and there was blood dripping everywhere. I could feel this. This was the worst one. It was the more open one that was just gushing blood and getting in my eyes and everything. Then I just took my shorts off and wrapped them around my head to try and stop the bleeding."
Eventually, he was taken to South Seminole Hospital in Longwood and given 23 stitches and 17 staples to his head with two of the stitches being for a puncture wound from a gator tooth in his upper back. As Hudson looks back on what happened, he feels fortunate.
"I stayed calm because if I started freaking out it would have uh, could have went south."
"It's scary. It's crazy. I never would have thought that that would happen or a big gator like that , and I'm surprised I got away to be honest..... If he held on or started to roll or kept me under, I probably wouldn't have made it, or it would have been a lot more severe."
Back at home and with painful headaches early in the morning, it may be a while before Andrew Hudson gets back in the water.
When asked if he would ever swim again, Hudson said, "Not anytime soon! But I probably will, yeah."
Hudson does plan to keep pursuing his lifelong dream after one more year at Winter Springs High School.
"I want to be in the military in the Marines after I graduate," he says. "I always have ever since I was little, and I accept the challenge and join the Marines. It's always what I've wanted to do."
Florida Fish and Wildlife says they will hire a trapper to find, trap and harvest the gator that attacked. Hudson says that's just fine with him.