CHARLOTTE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA/WBBH) – A Florida man remains in the ICU after a 10.5-foot alligator nearly took his arm off Friday at a golf course.
Scott Lahodik, 51, is a professional diver hired by Rotonda Golf and Country Club to collect golf balls from the course’s ponds.
“I had just talked to him about 45 minutes before the attack. He’s like, ‘Hey, I have to go jump in this lake, I’m going to call you right when I get out,’” said Kaelin Lahodik, his daughter.
Instead of the call Kaelin expected from her dad, her mother called and broke the terrible news.
“Alligator grabbed his arm, started doing the death roll, and he was able to punch it in the face, and it let go,” Kaelin said. “He drove to the clubhouse at the golf course, where they called 911.”
Charlotte County EMS and Fire Rescue rushed to the country club’s Palms Course to help Lahodik.
“It was mostly located on that upper left arm, was the site of his injuries,” said Deputy Chief Jason Fair.
Medics airlifted Lahodik to Lee Memorial’s trauma center to treat the extensive injuries to his shoulder and left arm.
“He has major like muscle damage and damage to the arteries and stuff in his arm,” his daughter said.
Lahodik’s wife, Maritza, said Saturday her husband has worked for 30 years as a professional diver and owns a family business where he and his brothers have worked as divers for years, servicing golf courses to make sure lakes are able to drain properly, among other things.
“It’s a job that has to be done by somebody,” she said.
Lahodik remains in ICU at Lee Memorial Hospital, where he’ll have another surgery Monday. He is able to use his left hand but no his elbow or upper arm, according to Maritza. She said he has 300 to 400 stitches.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Lahodik to help with medical and travel expenses.
The gator that attacked Lahodik was later captured by FWC trappers.
“You don’t get too many over 10 and a half. He’s probably 500, 600 pounds or more. The guy is lucky he got away from him,” said trapper Bill Conrod.
FWC said the alligator that attacked him will either be euthanized and go to a processing plant or end up at a gator farm.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.