Florida man loses arm in alligator attack outside bar
The victim, identified as a 23-year-old man, was attacked outside of the Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte, near a pond
May 23, 2023 8:55am
Updated: May 23, 2023 3:05pm
A Florida man lost his arm after he was attacked by a 10-foot alligator on Sunday morning outside of a bar near Fort Myers, authorities said.
The victim, identified as a 23-year-old man, was attacked outside of the Banditos Bar in Port Charlotte, near a pond. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office and EMS responded to the scene after receiving the report of the attack.
He was airlifted to Gulf Coast Medical Center in serious condition with “significant injuries,” according to authorities.
“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,” said Charlotte County Fire & EMS spokesperson Todd Dunn in a statement.
Manny Hiladgo, a customer at the bar, said he heard screaming outside. He grabbed a flashlight to see what the commotion was about and found the victim in the water.
"He was yelling and swimming toward the shoreline," Hidalgo told The Daily Sun in an interview Sunday afternoon. "I ran and dragged him up onto the sand. I was scared to get close to the water because it was dark out."
After the attack, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials responded to the scene and set out to find the alligator responsible for the attack. Trappers managed to catch the alligator, which measures 10.5 feet long, and later euthanized it in a “humane” manner.
According to staff and customers at the bar, alligators are a common sight at the pond, reported News Channel 8.
“At least 20 years, the big one I know of if it’s the same one, he’s been there 20 years,” said customer David Lowe, adding that things have gotten dangerous since visitors have been feeding the alligators.
“There was a restaurant they just tore down, and I know people did feed that you know throw whatever they didn’t eat down on the water,” he said
According to the FWC, it is illegal to feed alligators because it caused them to associate humans with food.
“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,” the agency said.