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Update: Researcher in fair condition after alligator bite

Gainesville environmental scientist Peter Butt was upgraded to fair condition Wednesday after being attacked by an alligator while snorkeling in the Silver River in Marion County Tuesday.

Butt is expected to make a full recovery from a bite to the neck by the 11-1/2-foot reptile, said Wes Skiles, owner of Karst Environmental Services Inc. of High Springs, who has talked with Butt.

Butt and Skiles started the company in 1987.

"He is expected to make a full recovery," Skiles said. "It was a completely out-of-nowhere attack. It was just bam."

The attack happened about 5:15 p.m. as Butt, 54, was checking water samples when the alligator attacked, biting him in the neck.

Butt was flown by helicopter to Shands Hospital at the University of Florida. The alligator was trapped and killed.

- Cindy Swirko

Researcher critical after alligator bite

(Original article) SILVER SPRINGS — A High Springs researcher was snorkeling in the Silver River on Tuesday when he was attacked by an alligator that bit his neck and possibly broke his jaw.

Peter Butt, 54, is operations manager for Karst Environmental Services Inc. of High Springs. He was checking water samples about 5:15 p.m. Tuesday when the gator — measured at 11 feet, 3 inches long — bit him, according to Eric Hutcheson, a friend of the victim.

Butt was taken by helicopter to Shands at the University of Florida, where he was listed in critical condition Tuesday night.

According to Hutcheson, the victim was working with a colleague, Tom Morris, as part of Karst's ongoing work concerning water quality and the aquifer.

Morris had checked water samples in that area just a short time before Butt did. Morris called for help when the gator attacked.

The incident happened outside the boundaries of Silver Springs Attraction.

Karst Environmental Services is a consulting firm west of High Springs that provides scientific services having to do with springs, sinkholes, rivers and other ecosystems.

A trapper worked with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to locate the alligator Tuesday night, after which the alligator was killed.

- Austin L. Miller Story and photos courtesy of http://www.gainesville.com