A Florida man whose right arm was bitten off by a 10-foot alligator brushed off losing a limb in the attack, because as he puts it, “It’s not the end of the world.”
Jordan Rivera, 23, fell into a pond behind Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte on Sunday shortly before 2 a.m., according to NBC affiliate WBBH in Fort Myers.
“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 interview from his hospital bed at the Gulf Coast Medical Center.
“Those gators, I didn’t truly understand them until I woke up in the hospital and, ‘Oh, gator got your arm,” Rivera said.
He added about partially losing his right arm: “They got my elbow. So, I don’t have an elbow,” Rivera said. “I can still move my arm around and whatnot.”
A spokesperson for Charlotte County Fire & EMS said personnel responded to an alligator attack about 1:40 a.m.
“The responding crew treated a male patient who had an above the elbow amputation of his upper right extremity. Bystanders applied a tourniquet to the patient before we arrived. The patient was airlifted to Gulf Coast Medical Center in Ft.Myers.”
Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission trappers found and removed the gator that attacked Rivera, WBBH reported. It measured nearly 10 ½ feet and was euthanized, according to the commission.
Rivera told the TV news outlet he doesn’t remember the attack itself, but recalls going out back because the line to the bar’s bathroom was long and he needed to relieve himself.
“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.”
He then awoke in a hospital, disoriented and in shock.
“Confusion. I was like ‘Whoa.’ Because I just woke up and I was just sitting here. And I looked over and I saw my arm the way it was and I was like, ‘Whoa,’” he said. “It kind of feels like my arm is just there, but not there.”
Teresa Lessa, Rivera’s mother, told WBBH said she’s thankful her son is alive.
“That’s the best thing, is that I have him. Yes, arm gone, very traumatic. But he’s here,” Lessa said.
What happened to him, Rivera said, “is almost out of a movie.” He says he’s beholden to the people who rushed to his aid and applied a tourniquet.
Lessa 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.”
Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.