A Florida man had his arm ripped off by a 10-and-a-half-foot alligator behind a joint called Banditos Bar — before a hero fellow drinker helped pull him to safety.
The 23-year-old victim, who has not been identified, was last seen in the bar next to a pond in Port Charlotte, Fla., according to officials and customers.
Banditos regular Manny Hidalgo told The Daily Sun that he raced out to help the man after hearing screams just before 1:45 a.m. Sunday.
“He was yelling and swimming toward the shoreline,” said the construction worker, who goes to the bar with his pet cat, Mr. Tom.
“I ran and dragged him up onto the sand. I was scared to get close to the water because it was dark out,” said the Banditos regular.
“Did I think about the gator being in the water? Yes, I did,” he added to told Wink News, with Mr. Tom perched on his shoulder.
“I was scared for sure … And then I noticed he was missing an arm,” he said, saying it was “literally chewed up.”
It was not immediately clear if the victim was dragged into the pond or had gone in for an early-hours swim. Either way, Hidalgo said, he was amazed he could pull out the victim because he “was a pretty big guy.
“I’m not sure how I did it. I guess my adrenaline kicked in,” he told the local paper of being “at the right place at the right time.
“The guy was kinda not coherent at all,” he recalled to WINK, adding, “I wouldn’t be either If I was missing an arm.”
He predicted the animal attacker was either “a mama gator trying to protect her young or a daddy trying to feed.
“I mean, he [got] fed. He took off with an arm and left him alone, so [the victim] is lucky to be alive.”
Todd Dunn, a spokesman for Charlotte County Fire and EMS, confirmed that the victim lost an arm. The injured man was taken by helicopter to Gulf Coast Hospital in Fort Myers, where he remains getting treatment.
A trapper later removed a 10-and-a-half-foot alligator from the pond, which was humanely killed, wildlife officials said.
“This is Florida, and there are predators,” Hidalgo said.
“I know it’s mating season, so I hope people are more aware of their surroundings.”
With Post wires