SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa man is recovering after surviving an alligator attack over the weekend.

Jeffrey Heim was going diving in the Myakka River on Sunday looking for megalodon teeth when he says he was attacked from behind by an alligator.  

“I thought it was a boat it hit me so fast or it felt like it was so fast,” the 25-year-old said.

He tells 8 On Your Side he wasn’t in the water for very long when the attack happened. He thinks the alligator was about 9 feet long and possibly a female. It’s currently alligator mating season in Florida.

“I look up and the gator is right in front of me and we are looking at each other and we are both confused,” added Heim.

Heim now has 34 stitches in his head, a minor skull fracture and bite marks on one of his hands. Doctors told him there is no brain damage from the attack, which he said is a miracle. He will have the stitches for at least a few weeks.

“If it would have got me anywhere else, it could have been a different story. The chance of me walking away from that is why it is a miracle,” said Heim.

He is also grateful for the good samaritans who called 911 and took care of him while he waited for the ambulance to arrive.

While Heim recovers from his injuries, he is unable to work at his job as a personal trainer.