PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. —
A 23-year-old man is remaining optimistic after a 10.5-foot alligator bit off his right arm early Sunday morning in Port Charlotte, according to multiple reports.
NBC affiliate WBBH says a little before 2 a.m., Jordan Rivera fell into a pond behind Banditos Bar.
“I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm, it’s not the end of the world,” Rivera told the news outlet during an exclusive interview from his hospital bed. “They got my elbow. So, I don’t have an elbow. I can still move my arm around and whatnot.”
With a hazy memory of the incident, Rivera was able to remember he went outside the relieve himself because the lines to the bathroom were long.
He told WBBH the next time he opened his eyes, he was in the hospital.
Another bar patron, Manny Hidalgo, told The Daily Sun that he heard Rivera screaming from the pond area and went outside looking for him.
“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.”
Bystanders applied a tourniquet before emergency officials were on the scene. Rivera was later airlifted to the hospital.
The 23-year-old's mother, Teresa Lessa, was thankful it was just his arm too. She told WBBH, “That’s the best thing, is that I have him. Yes, arm gone, very traumatic. But he’s here,” Teresa Lessa said.
She also praised the Good Samaritans who helped save her son's life.
“I call them angels, that were there, that saved his life,” Lessa said. “The chance of someone being there with a tourniquet, to me, it’s a miracle that he’s here.”
A nuisance alligator trapper was removed and euthanized, according to wildlife officials.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.