In a shocking incident outside Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte, Florida, a man lost his arm to an alligator, but his resilient spirit shines through.
Jordan Rivera, a 23-year-old from Englewood, found himself in a terrifying encounter with the gator near a pond behind the bar on Sunday. Thankfully, the screams of Rivera were heard by fellow patrons, including Manny Hidalgo, who came to his rescue. The incident, which could have been far worse, has left Rivera with a positive outlook on life, stating, “I didn’t lose my life. I lost an arm. It’s not the end of the world.”
Rivera, recovering in the ICU at Gulf Coast Medical Center, shared his story of survival with NBC2. Despite the traumatic experience, Rivera maintains an optimistic attitude, counting his blessings and appreciating the fact that he is alive. His mother, Teresa, echoes this sentiment, expressing gratitude for having her son by her side despite the loss of his arm.
“That’s the best thing, is that I have him. Yes, arm gone, very traumatic. But he’s here,” Teresa Lessa said.
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Recounting the incident, Rivera explained that he was not feeding the alligator but had ventured towards the pond due to long bathroom lines at the busy bar. He vividly remembers falling into the water but has limited recollection beyond that point.
“So I ended up walking over to the water hole, I didn’t realize how big it was at the time, as I was going over there something happened where I either tripped or the ground below me just went down,” Rivera said. “I ended up in the water. And that’s literally the last thing I remember.”
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) located and removed the alligator responsible for the attack. The gator, measuring over 10 feet in length, was euthanized, as per standard procedure for gators involved in human encounters.
As Rivera continues his recovery journey, his family has set up a GoFundMe account to support him.