Per an initial report from local outlet The Daily Sun, the 23-year-old man encountered the gator in question near a pond behind Banditos Bar in the Port Charlotte area on Sunday. Thankfully, the man’s resulting screams were heard by fellow patrons, including a bar regular by the name of Manny Hidalgo.
Speaking with the outlet, Hidalgo—who frequents the establishment with a beloved cat known to locals as Mr. Tom–said he was simply “at the right place at the right time” when he helped pull the mid-bite man onto the sand.
While the 23-year-old man wasn't initially identified in early reports on the near-fatal encounter, a subsequent update from another regional outlet, WBBH-TV, revealed the individual's name as Jordan Rivera.
In fact, the publication managed to speak with Rivera while he continued to recover in the ICU. The man’s mother also spoke with the outlet, referring to those who helped save her son’s life as “angels.”
According to Rivera, he wasn’t feeding the gator at the time of the incident. Instead, he had walked to a body of water behind the bar due to the long wait for the bathroom inside.
“I was just trying to go over there and take a little pee and whatnot,” he said.
When detailing his gratitude for the situation, given that it all could have gone so much worse, Rivera pointed to the positives.
“I didn’t lose my life,” he noted. “I lost an arm. It’s not the end of the world.”
Per reports, the gator at the center of this encounter was just over 10 feet in length. As is protocol, the gator has since been removed from the pond.
Complex has reached out to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for comment. This story may be updated.