The last thing a 23-year-old Florida man remembers before he woke up in a hospital with his arm gone due to an alligator bite was needing to pee.
On the early morning of May 21, Jordan Rivera was at a busy bar in Fort Meyers, Florida. At the time, bathroom lines were so long that he decided to look around for a space outside. According to NBC affiliate WBBH-TV, Rivera thought he found refuge by the edge of a pond.
“I didn’t realize how big it was at the time,” Rivera explained. “As I was going over there, something happened where I either tripped or the ground below me just went down. I ended up in the water. And that’s literally the last thing I remember.”
Rivera woke up in a bed at the intensive care unit at Gulf Coast Medical Center with cables strung around him and his right arm completely gone from his upper elbow.
“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,’” Rivera explained.
“It kind of feels like my arm is just there, but not there,” he explained, adding later, “It was just the craziest thing. It’s almost out of a movie,”
Despite the loss of his limb, Rivera is able to reflect on the entire ordeal with a sense of optimism.
“I didn’t lose my life; I lost an arm. It’s not the end of the world, you know,” he remarked.
“I can still move my arm around and whatnot.”
Rivera’s mother, Teresa Lessa, says that even that movement is thanks in part to patrons at the bar. They hurried to pull Jordan from the water and treat his arm with a tourniquet.
“I call them angels that were there, that saved his life,” Lessa explained. “The chance of someone being there with a tourniquet, to me, it’s a miracle that he’s here.”
Florida Wildlife Commission — which oversees and regulates the state of Florida’s wildlife and fish resources — is reported to have removed the alligator from the pond and euthanized it. The government agency has yet to respond to TODAY.com’s request for comment.
Still, when it comes to his health, Rivera isn’t quite in the clear. He’s up against the hostile environment that bacteria transferred from alligator bites can create. After his procedure, Rivera could spend up to six days in the hospital before beginning rehabilitation.
In April, a father and daughter made headlines after they were rescued from an alligator-filled lake in Florida. Christopher Snow, 31, and his daughter, Alexis, 13, were jet skiing in Tampa, Florida, when the watercraft sank. The Hillsborough County Sheriff credited their life jackets for keeping them from harm.
“I want to thank both the boaters that helped and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for being on patrol and noticing something wasn’t right,” Snow said in a press release at the time. “My life jacket wasn’t sized properly, so this is a good reminder to make sure yours is fitted correctly.”
This article was originally published on TODAY.com
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