WINK News speaks to alligator attack victim about how he was able to survive

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
William "Grant" Simmons
William “Grant” Simmons Credit: WINK News

A man who was attacked by an alligator back in August sat down with WINK News this week to talk about how he was able to survive.

On August 23, William “Grant” Simmons was attacked by an alligator while trying to retrieve his sunglasses. He had three bites on his body but lived to tell the tale.

His physical scars are reminders of Simmons’ tussle with an alligator. “I went through like… a miracle,” said Simmons.

In August, he went for a walk along a gated part of the Estero Bay Preserve on Lee County. Simmons says he’d walked that path a dozen or so times before. This time, his sunglasses fell off and rolled into nearby water.

Credit: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

“It was only two feet deep where I was putting my hand, but that’s how close he was to me in the dark water,” said Simmons.

Then, the alligator decided to pop its head out of the water and bite Simmons on the arm. It then attempted to pull him into the water. “Once he had my arm, I just had that basic understanding that would be more detrimental to me to pull against him,” Simmons said.

Simmons began to punch the gator and try to get away. “All I could think of at the time… and I think this was just instinct was just to punch. And to punch him, and as I did, he let me go,” he said.

Unfortunately, the gator got ahold of Simmons once again. So Simmons started punching the alligator until it let go of him. But the alligator went after him a third time. “I was reaching for the dirt to pull myself back upon the land, and he bit me again across my torso. And that’s where he broke my ribs on my left side, and he punctured my lung,” said Simmons.

Simmons’ pure willpower is what helped him escape that third time. A couple nearby was able to help Simmons get to Lee Memorial Hospital. There, he spent a month in the hospital and a week in a coma. Doctors had to reconstruct his arm.

Thanks to those doctors, he can use his arm again. “I can actually lift my arm. I can grip things,” said Simmons.

As he continues to recover, Simmons hopes the community can learn from his experience. He hopes that this will teach people to be more aware of their surroundings and especially cautious around bodies of water.

Simmons describes the couple who found him and helped him get to the hospital as “angels.”

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