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We begin with a Fox 35 exclusive: a woman is attacked by a 9-foot alligator while snorkeling. Thank you for joining us on this Monday, I’m Luan Sell and I’m John Brown. Despite the terrifying experience, she survived and spoke with Fox 35’s Stephanie Buff Monte.

Stephanie joins us live in the studio with the full story. So Stephanie, this incident took place at Alexander Springs, which is known for alligators. This is an astonishing story.

A bystander captured a photo of the woman moments after the alligator bit her. You can clearly see the alligator lurking behind her. It was definitely a scary situation, but she is grateful to be alive.

“It’s the two bumps on my forehead,” says Marissa Carr, still in disbelief. While snorkeling at Alexander Springs in Okala yesterday, an alligator clamped down on her head.

She recalls ripping off her mask and witnessing the creature with its eyes above water. Marissa was accompanied by her friend Shane when the unexpected 9-foot gator appeared.

She describes hearing the sound of rushing water and turning around to check if her friend was okay, only to come face to face with the alligator gripping her head. The attack happened so quickly that Marissa initially didn’t realize she had been bitten. She said, “It didn’t hurt much in the moment, but as I ran back and saw what had happened, the pain intensified.

My forehead and neck were in excruciating pain.” According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), a trapper had removed the 9-foot male alligator just a few days prior to this incident. Alexander Springs had been temporarily closed previously when another person bumped into a gator while snorkeling. Marissa believes that wearing a full-face snorkel mask instead of just goggles may have prevented more serious injuries. She explained, “As bad as it sounds, having the alligator bite my head was probably the best outcome.

If it had gotten my arm, it could have had a stronger grip and I may have lost my arm or even my life. I think the alligator didn’t get a good grip on my head, so I consider myself extremely lucky.” Marissa wanted to emphasize that she does not hold any animosity towards the alligator for the attack. Furthermore, she is determined to continue snorkeling and not let this incident deter her.

This is not the first time such an incident has occurred at Alexander Springs in the Ocala National Forest. In July of this year, a man was bitten while snorkeling, and a gator even attacked someone’s pool noodle.

As a result, a 7 and 1/2-foot alligator was removed from the springs. Reporting from the studio, I’m Stephanie Buff for Fox 35 News.

We became aware of this story thanks to a viewer who contacted us about the alligator attack. If you have a story you would like us to investigate, please email us at

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