You may have seen this story circulating. A 23 year-old Florida man loses his arm to a 10-foot alligator outside of a Port Charlotte restaurant. He was airlifted to a local hospital early Sunday morning. While it’s definitely a weird feeling for him to feel like his arm is still there, but it’s not. He told WBBH that he is just grateful to be alive and for the “angels” that saved him.
Early Sunday morning Justin Rivera was visiting a local restaurant, Banditos Bar. The bar overlooks a large lake that is home to multiple Florida wildlife species, including alligators. Restaurant regulars say that it’s pretty common for customers to feed gators in the lake or throw their leftovers in the water (even though it’s illegal to do so). One customer said that gator has been there for 20 years. Rumors were going around that Justin was feeding the gator when the attack happened, but Justin shut those down.
He admitted to WBBH that he was at the Banditos restaurant near closing time and it was still pretty busy. The line for the restroom was extremely long so he decided to walk behind the restaurant and relieve himself at the pond. At the time, he couldn’t see just how big the body of water was and didn’t really understand gators were there until this moment. He states that he’s not sure what happened but somehow he fell and landed into the water, and that was the last thing he remembers.
What could have been a tragic ending became a miracle when bar patrons saw him and rushed to help. They quickly pulled him out of the water and tied a tourniquet to his arm. The gator got his elbow causing him to lose the arm. He still has a bit of a road to recovery ahead of him. Doctors have to clean out the bacteria that the gator left behind.
According to WBBH, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission removed and euthanized the gator. This is a common procedure after attacks.