DELTONA, Fla. (AP) - An alligator dragged a 12-year-old swimmer underwater in a lake, but the boy punched the reptile and swam safely to shore.

Malcolm Locke was treated for cuts and scrapes that were not considered life threatening. He was bit while swimming Wednesday in Lake Diana, near his grandmother's house just north of Orlando. He saw the alligator's tail first, he said. "It was coming right at me," he told NBC's Today show Thursday.

Malcolm, who is five feet, four inches tall, tried to swim away, but the alligator, which was between 1.2 and two metres long, attacked his head and pulled him under water, officials said.