Florida Man Gets Arm Bit Off By 10-Foot Gator

An unidentified Port Charlotte man, 23, is minus an arm after he got into a pond to swim behind Bandito’s bar in Port Charlotte, and a 10-foot gator bit it off.

Ron Williams told WINK News he was at Banditos Bar on Sunday morning around 1:45 a.m., just before the bar closed.

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“We heard screaming. I just happened to walk out on the porch. At about the same time and just a group of people came running up in a panic, you can see it on their face, and said, somebody’s got their arm bit off. And we’re trying to figure out what to do to help, but apparently, they already dragged him out of the water and called for help. And they showed up pretty quick and got him out. Got him somewhere and medivac him apparently,” Williams said.

10 Foot Gator Captured

Manny Hidalgo was one of the men who jumped into the gator-infested water to save the struggling man who was being attacked.

“The reason why he was struggling is because he was trying to swim with one arm,” Hidalgo said.

Mark Christenson’s lived near Banditos for years and told WINK News it’s not exactly a secret that gators are in the water.

“We’ve seen gators back here, and we hear ’em croaking,” Christenson said. “There’s a bunch of cat tails and reeds in the back that are run down. And that means gators. So, there’s been a big boy back here for a while.

The man was taken by helicopter to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, where his arm was amputated, said Todd Dunn, a Charlotte County Fire and EMS spokesman.

After the attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) captured the alligator and a nuisance alligator trapper. The alligator measured 10.5-foot (3.2 meters), according to wildlife officials.

No one is sure why the man decided to go swimming at  0145 hours in an alligator-infested pond, but there is speculation that alcohol was involved.

The FWC prioritizes public safety and administers a Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program (SNAP). The goal of SNAP is to proactively address alligator threats in developed areas while conserving alligators in areas where they naturally occur. SNAP uses contracted nuisance alligator trappers throughout the state to remove alligators believed to pose a threat to people, pets, or property. People with concerns about an alligator should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and we will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.

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The FWC works to keep Floridians, and visitors informed and recommends the following preventive measures near alligators, including in or near the water, to reduce the chances of conflicts with alligators:

  • Keep a safe distance if you see an alligator. If someone is concerned about an alligator, they should call FWC’s toll-free Nuisance Alligator Hotline at 866-FWC-GATOR (866-392-4286), and we will dispatch a contracted nuisance alligator trapper to resolve the situation.
  • Keep pets on a leash and away from the water’s edge. Pets often resemble alligators’ natural prey.
  • Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours and without your pet. Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn.
  • Never feed an alligator. It’s illegal and dangerous. When fed, alligators can lose their natural wariness and instead learn to associate people with the availability of food. This can lead to dangerous circumstances for yourself and other people who could encounter the alligator in the future.

According to the FWC, the best thing to do is fight back if an alligator bites you, providing as much noise and resistance as possible. Hitting or kicking the alligator or poking it in its eyes may cause it to release its grip. When alligators seize prey, they cannot easily overpower; alligators will often let go and retreat.

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