A 24-year-old homeless woman wrestled to free herself from an alligator after the animal attacked and tried to drag her underwater as she swam in Florida’s Lake Hernando early on Wednesday, PEOPLE confirms.
Felicitie Gillette was swimming in the Citrus County lake around 1 a.m. when a 5- to 6-foot alligator grabbed her by her left arm and attempted to drag her underwater, according to a statement from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. She was able to fight off the alligator and called 911.
“It came up out of nowhere and attacked,” Gillette said in a frantic 911 call released to PEOPLE by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. “I’m freaking out.”
She told the dispatcher that the alligator swam away but was “probably nearby,” according to ABC News. She wrapped a towel around her bleeding arm and the dispatcher instructed her on how to stop the bleeding.
She was taken to Ocala Regional Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to the FWC. Hours later, WFTS reporter Ryan Smith tweeted a video of an alligator with its head just above the surface of the lake, noting that the footage was taken a few weeks ago.
“They fear it’s being fed, leading it to act aggressive near public beach,” Smith said of authorities.
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The night following the incident, a trapper removed a pair of alligators, one nearly 7 feet and the other almost 8 feet long from the lake, a spokesperson for the FWC tells PEOPLE.
Wednesday’s attack comes just days after a 45-year-old kindergarten teacher, Cassandra Cline, was dragged to her death by an alligator while walking her dog alongside a lagoon on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island.
Cline was walking her dog near the lagoon around 9:30 a.m. on Monday when an 8-foot alligator attacked. Officials believe she was protecting her dog when she was attacked and pulled underwater by the alligator, according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. The dog survived the incident.
“I cannot make any sense of what’s happened. None at all. She would never go near an alligator, she would never irritate an alligator,” Cline’s mother, Julia Meza, said in a tear-filled interview with Today after the tragedy. “I just keep thinking about her being dragged away by that. I just, I just can’t imagine it.”