Man Survives 3 Days In Swamp After Losing Arm In Gator Attack

FOX 13 Tampa Bay / YouTube

A man in Florida has been left with one arm after getting attacked by an alligator. He survived the attack, however, he got lost in a swamp for three days until he was rescued and airlifted to a hospital.

43-year-old Eric Merda said he had just finished an irrigation job in July in Parrish, Florida when he decided to stop by Lake Manatee Fish Camp to throw away trash and take a walk around the camp.

Eric ended up getting lost and it was getting dark but he spotted his truck parked across a body of water and jumped into the lake figuring he could swim across to his vehicle.

The 43-year-old said he was halfway across the lake when out of nowhere, a large female alligator grabbed him by the right arm. Eric tried to fight the gator off but it ended up snapping his arm and tried to pull him underwater three times.

“It’s do or die,” Merda explained. “Do you want to live or die. I was given the opportunity to make a choice, and I decided to live.”

Eric continued to fight the reptile and eventually, it finally gave up and retreated. He swam back to shore with a mangled and broken arm and was lost in the swamp for three days before being found.

He was taken to the hospital by helicopter where doctors decided to amputate his arm due to severe injuries to the bone and muscle. Instead of being depressed about the situation, Eric says he feels a new sense of purpose after the attack.

“I’m thriving,” Eric said. “I’m actually thriving. I’m going up, and I’m not coming back down.”

Authorities with the Florida Fish and Wildlife said that a contracted alligator trapper was called who removed a six-foot and nine-foot alligator from the lake on the day after the rescue.

Florida Fish and Wildlife also noted that this makes 22 alligator bites that have been reported in Florida this year. Last year in 2021 only 21 bites were reported.

Local officials are warning people not to feed the alligators, which is not only illegal but can cause the reptiles to be more aggressive toward humans due to seeing them as a food source.

“Leave the alligators alone,” Merda warned. “More times than not it’s not the people’s fault that are getting attacked. It’s the people throwing rocks and giving them food.”

Listen To The Man Who Lost His Arm Below