Alligator attacks man in Florida lake

Orange County, FL - (NBC) - A Florida triathlete is recovering after tangling with an angry alligator.

Douglas A. McCard, 35, of Kissimmee, was bitten in the chest area while swimming outside the buoys in Lake Mary Jane on Sunday.

McCard swims a lot to stay in condition. He told wildlife officials he has been in Lake Mary Jane thousands of times over the years.

McCard said he is gator aware, and watches for the animals before going into the water and while in the water, but he said he didn't see this one. He said when he was bitten, he hit the gator and it let go of him.

"I started to spin myself to stand up and started swinging and got an elbow on his head and he released me," McCard said.

The gator swam one direction, and he went the other, McCard said. McCard was able to swim to shore and seek help.

He was taken from Moss Park to Orlando Regional Medical Center. He's being treated for wounds that doctors said are not life-threatening.

Orange County park workers have closed Moss Park to swimming.

Firefighters contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission to evaluate the alligator population in the area, and the commission sent a trapper in to kill the animal.

As of Monday morning, he had not caught the gator.

FWC officials said this was the first unprovoked alligator attack in Florida this year.

Copyright 2010 NBC. All rights reserved.