DELAND, Florida -- A 16-year-old being dragged into a Central Florida lake by an 11-foot alligator used a tip he watched on a Discovery Channel show to break free and save his life, according to a news report.
Corey Workman was in a remote area of the St. John's River in Volusia County, Fla., just before midnight Saturday, throwing rocks and sticks into the water when he was attacked.
Authorities said an alligator jumped out of the water, grabbed Workman's left foot and dragged him into the lake.
"He struggled with the alligator but could not get free until he remembered something he saw on the Discovery Channel about what to do if you are getting attacked by an alligator," reporter Deborah Garcia said.
"For some reason, I remembered a couple of months ago I was watching the television show and they were saying in certain situations whenever you are in, you have to put your thumb in its eye since it is the most sensitive part on the alligator," Workman told Local 6 News Monday. "It was the first thing I did."
Workman poked the alligator in the eye with his thumb as he was told to do on the television show.
His mom said the lesson of poking at the alligator's eye saved her son's life, Garcia said.
"If he was every bitten by a shark, he (learned) to put his hand in its gills and if he was ever attacked by a gator, to take his thumb and poke his thumb all the way in his eye and the gator released him," mother Elisa Badger said. "Thank God he was able to maintain his composure and not panic. He knew exactly what to do."
"Everyone is calling teenager Corey Workman a very lucky young man today," Garcia said.
Trappers used a hook and harpoon to catch an 11-foot alligator Sunday night in the St. John's River near Astor, Fla.
Officials said they believe the alligator is the same one that attacked Workman but will match bite marks to be certain, the report said.
Workman remained in Florida Hospital Deland early Monday but was expected to make a full recovery.
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