Alligator attack: Florida man Eric Merda survives 3 days in swamp after losing right arm

The predator dragged Merda underwater three times before taking off his arm

Alligator attack: Florida man Eric Merda survives 3 days in swamp after losing right arm
Eric Merda warned the people of Florida against provoking alligators in a Facebook post (Screenshot FOX 13 Tampa Bay/ Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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MYAKKA CITY, FLORIDA: A man lost his arm in a gruesome alligator attack and reportedly spent the next three days roaming around the swamp looking for help. The man was visiting the Lake Manatee Fish Camp in Myakka City when the horrible attack happened.

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According to the New York Post, Eric Merda, a resident of Sarasota, was in the city on July 17 when he got lost in the woods. As he reached the lake, he decided to swim across it instead of walking around. “Not the smartest decision a Florida boy could make,” the 43-year-old said in an interview with 10 Tampa Bay,  Not long into his swim, he told the outlet, “I look over and there’s a gator on my right-hand side.”

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Eric said, “She got my forearm so I grabbed her like this, she was trying to roll by, she snapped her head so my arm [went] backwards like this completely.” He added that the predator dragged him underwater three times before taking off his right arm.

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After coming back to the shore, Eric started walking and screamed for assistance. “Bones poking out, muscles, if I try to move my fingers, you could see it twitching,” he recalled. As per 10 Tampa Bay, after three days of wandering, Eric stumbled upon a fence with a man on the other side. “I said a gator got me arm, he said, ‘holy smokes man!’”

In an interview with Fox13 Tampa Bay, the anonymous individual said, “I didn’t know if he was dead or alive when I first walked upon him. They cut the fence, they helped him up, and he actually walked to the ambulance.”

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Eric was then rushed to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where doctors had to amputate the rest of his arm. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had reported Eric's attack on July 21. As per reports, a nuisance alligator trapper was sent to the area, but it remains unclear if any alligators were removed.

Meanwhile, Eric is trying to readjust after the incident and remains positive. In a Facebook post, he described himself as “spiritually strong, physically strong, mentally and emotionally superb.”

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Although the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said in a statement that serious injuries from alligators are rare, Eric is one of many people to be attacked in the state in recent months.

In a separate incident, an alligator had to be put to death after it attacked a 77-year-old woman from a Florida retirement community on Saturday, September 3. The 7-foot, 10-inch reptile was later captured by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and euthanized.

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The woman, who was not identified, was rushed to a hospital after the attack and is being treated for her injuries. 

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