A 23-year-old man lost his arm at the start of the week in Florida after being attacked by an alligator in Port Charlotte, according to local officials.
The nearly 11-foot alligator, which was later killed, attacked Jordan Rivera around 1 a.m. on Sunday near a pond just outside of the Banditos Bar.
CBS News reported that Rivera was flown by helicopter to Gulf Coast Medical Center where his arm was amputated due to the severity of the injury he suffered.
The Daily Sun reported that a man inside the bar heard the attack happening outside when he sprang into action and helped get Rivera out of the water.
“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.”
“I was scared for sure,” he said. “He was a pretty big guy. I’m not sure how I did it. I guess my adrenaline kicked in … I don’t know if it was a mama gator trying to save her young, or a daddy gator trying to feed his family … but the guy was very lucky.”
“I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm, it’s not the end of the world,” Rivera told a news outlet.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says that while alligators are still on the federal endangered species list, they can still easily be found all over the state.
“Alligators occur in all 67 counties in Florida and can be found in practically all fresh and brackish water bodies and occasionally in salt water,” the state agency said. “Although exact population figures are not known, Florida has a healthy and stable population of about 1.3 million alligators of every size. This population estimate is based on an estimated 6.7 million acres of suitable habitat.”
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It is illegal to feed alligators because feeding them teaches them to associate food with humans and thus causes them to lose their fear of people. Despite their numbers in the state, attacks on people remain relatively rare as they prefer to only attack prey that they can easily overpower.
Fully-grown American alligators can be up to 15 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
There have been fewer than 450 recorded alligator attacks in Florida since 1948, with a couple dozen resulting in death.