A Florida man lost his arm over the weekend in a harrowing alligator attack. Jordan Rivera, 23, was at a pond behind Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte, Florida, when a gator unexpectedly bit him. According to USA Today, a bystander named Manny Hidalgo heard Rivera’s screams and rushed to pull him out of the water.
Bystanders reportedly applied a tourniquet to Rivera’s right arm, which had been amputated above the elbow by the gator. First responders airlifted the victim to a hospital in Fort Meyers, Florida, where he has been recovering.
“Those gators, I didn’t truly understand them until I woke up in the hospital and, ‘Oh, gator got your arm,” Rivera told NBC2. “I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm. It’s not the end of the world.”
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Officials say that professional gator trappers found and humanely euthanized a 10-foot, 5-inch gator at the pond where the attack occurred. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, there are roughly 1.3 million alligators in the Sunshine State. Serious attacks on people are rare but they do occur. In 2022, the state recorded 9 “major” alligator bites on people, according to a report. Alligators posing threats to people and pets are regularly trapped and removed through Florida’s Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program.