Hilton Head -- A 70-year-old vacationer freed himself from the jaws of a 10-foot alligator by socking it in the eyes, Sea Pines authorities said Thursday.
The man, visiting the Hilton Head Island resort last month, was near a lagoon's edge and preparing to release a fish he had caught when the alligator lunged from the water and latched onto his leg, according to Sea Pines security director George Breed.
David Henderson, a Sea Pines wildlife biologist who responded to the incident, said the man gouged the creature's eyes and repeatedly struck the top of its head.
The man was treated at Hilton Head Hospital and released.
Breed declined to release the man's name. He also declined to comment about the extent of his injuries, other than to say they required stitches.
Sea Pines staff captured and shot the reptile.
The male gator, which probably weighed about 250 pounds, might have been attracted by the fish, Henderson said.
The man stated he had not seen a gator in the area. Henderson said it's likely the gator was either submerged nearby or able to approach undetected by remaining under the water. This time of year, he said, alligators can stay under water for about 30 minutes at a time.
The incident occurred about 8 a.m. June 28 between Spanish Moss Road and the Inland Harbour villas near the intersection of Plantation Drive and Lighthouse Road.