Light Wave

U.S. News

Florida Woman Survives 9-Foot Alligator Attack While Snorkeling

By CM Chaney · November 8, 2023

In brief…

  • Woman bitten on head by 9-foot alligator while snorkeling in Florida
  • Attack happened suddenly while swimming at Alexander Springs park
  • Woman credits full-face snorkel mask with minimizing her injuries
  • Alligator attacks rare but caution urged around Florida waters
A Florida woman snorkeling in a state park suffered a shocking alligator attack but miraculously survived with head injuries after being bitten by the 9-foot reptile.  FOX 35 Orlando / Screenshot / YouTube

A Florida woman was attacked by a massive alligator while snorkeling at Alexander Springs Recreation Area over the weekend.

Marissa Carr was swimming with a friend on November 5 in Altoona, Florida when the 9-foot reptile bit her head. Photos show Carr bleeding from her head as the alligator lurked in the background.

Carr was rushed to a nearby hospital after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was alerted. A trapper also responded and removed the aggressive alligator.

Alligator attack: Gator bites woman's head as she's snorkeling in Florida river

Carr told Fox35 Orlando the bite itself didn’t initially hurt.

“I ripped the mask off and I turn and see the two little eyes sticking out of the water,” she said. But soon pain set in. “My forehead hurts really bad and my neck isn’t like so much pain.”

Her friend Shane witnessed the sudden ambush.

“I just heard a rush of water and I turned around to make sure she was OK. And I just saw the gator. I saw her head in its mouth,” he recalled.

Carr said the attack transpired in seconds and she didn’t even realize what was happening. She credits her full-face snorkel mask with minimizing her injuries.

“It biting my head is probably the best place that it could have been because like, if it would have got my arm and that it would have got a better grip on my arm and I could have lost my arm or just like my life in general,” she stated.

Alexander Springs is described as having a “naturally gently sloped spring pool with a constant 72°F and extraordinarily clear waters.” It’s the only spot in Ocala National Forest where scuba diving is allowed.

Alligator attacks on humans are rare in Florida, but incidents have risen in recent years as development encroaches on the reptiles’ habitat. Officials urge caution around bodies of water where alligators may lurk. Carr’s encounter serves as a sobering reminder.