Fla. Man, 23, Shrugs Off Losing Right Arm in Alligator Attack: 'It's Not The End of the World'
"I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm," Jordan Rivera said, after a 10 ft. alligator bit off his right arm on Sunday when he fell into a pond in Port Charlotte
A Florida man is speaking out after his arm was bitten off by a 10-foot alligator.
Jordan Rivera, 23, was attacked by the large reptile after falling into a pond during a bathroom break behind Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte on Sunday, according to a press release from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that was obtained by PEOPLE.
The incident took place at 1:40 a.m. local time, authorities said. Rivera was transported to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers where his right arm was amputated just above the elbow, a spokesman for Charlotte County Fire and EMS told the Associated Press.
Rivera claims not to remember the attack, only the moment right before and afterwards. He woke up in hospital, and has a surprisingly positive outlook about the incident despite his serious injury.
“I didn’t lose my life, I lost an arm," Rivera told NBC affiliate WBBH in Fort Myers, speaking from his hospital bed. "It’s not the end of the world."
Related: 23-Year-Old Man Loses an Arm After Being Attacked by Alligator Near Pond Outside Florida Bar
"Those gators, I didn’t truly understand them until I woke up in the hospital and, ‘Oh, gator got your arm,' " he said. "They got my elbow. So, I don’t have an elbow."
Rivera added: "I can still move my arm around and whatnot."
The Florida native shared to WBBH that he had gone outside after refusing to wait in line for the bathroom in the bar, and must have “either tripped or the ground below me just went down" as he "ended up in the water."
“That’s literally the last thing I remember,” Rivera stated.
Related: 11-Foot Alligator Attacks and Kills Florida Woman, 85, Who Was Walking Her Dog
He recalls feeling "confusion" when he woke up after the accident. "I was like ‘Whoa,' " he told the outlet. "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.’ "
“It kind of feels like my arm is just there, but not there," he said.
Following the attack, the alligator was removed by Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission trappers and euthanized, according to WBBH.
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A spokesperson for Charlotte County Fire & EMS said of the incident: "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."
Related: Fla. Man Hospitalized After Alligator Bites His Face During Swim Near Tampa
Teresa Lessa, Rivera’s mother, shared her relief at her son being alive, despite the “traumatic” experience, telling WBBH: "That’s the best thing, is that I have him. Yes, arm gone, very traumatic. But he’s here."
Rivera described the incident as being "almost out of a movie," and spoke of his gratitude to those who helped him and brought him to safety.
"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."
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