A 10-foot alligator attacked a Florida man near a pond outside a bar over the weekend, biting the man’s arm so severely that doctors were forced to amputate the limb, officials said.
The encounter unfolded early Sunday morning behind Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
The 23-year-old man was taken by helicopter to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, where his arm was amputated, said Todd Dunn, a spokesman for Charlotte County Fire and EMS.
The victim, later identified as Jordan Rivera, spoke to WBBH-TV from his hospital bed on Monday, telling the station that despite losing an arm, he was happy to be alive.
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“I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm, it’s not the end of the world, you know,” Rivera said.
Rivera said that he had little memory of what happened, telling the station that he recalled the bathroom lines were long, and he had gone outside to relieve himself when he suddenly fell.
“I ended up in the water,” he said. “And that’s literally the last thing I remember.”
Another bar patron, Manny Hidalgo, told the Daily Sun that he heard the man screaming from the pond area and went outside looking for him in the darkness.
“He was yelling and swimming toward the shoreline,” Hidalgo said. “I ran and dragged him up onto the sand. I was scared to get close to the water because it was dark out.”
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Rivera was pulled to safety, but the alligator had torn a chunk out of his right arm. Doctors amputated his arm just above the elbow.
He will undergo another procedure to remove bacteria from his arm left behind by the alligator before moving to rehab in about a week, the station reported.
Following the attack, wildlife officials said a nuisance alligator trapper removed the 10.5-foot gator from the property.
Officials told the news outlet that the gator was euthanized since it had attacked a human.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.