Man Survives 3 Days in Swamp After Alligator Bites Off His Arm

Eric Merda of Florida survived a terrifying encounter with an alligator that bit off his arm and left him stranded for three days in an expansive swamp.

The attack occurred earlier this summer in Myakka City, Florida at the Lake Manatee Fish Camp. He got lost in the woods around the camp when he found himself at a small lake. He decided to swim across the lake rather than walk around. “Not the smartest decision a Florida boy could make,” said Merda in an interview with his local news affiliate.

But during the swim, he came face to face with an alligator. “I look over and there’s a gator on my right-hand side so I went to swim and she got my forearm so I grabbed her like this, she was trying to roll but she snapped her head so my arm went backwards like this completely,” Merda said who continued to fight for his life.

Merda is extremely lucky to be alive to tell the tale of his alligator encounter. The gator dragged him underwater three times during the struggle. After the third time, Merda emerged for the gator to finally break away. However, it took most of his arm along with it.

“She’s already got my arm, so when we came up the third time, she finally did her death roll and took off with my arm,” he explained.

A Gruesome Alligator Attack and Terrifying Journey

After the death-defying attack, Merda managed to swim back to the shore close to where he started. He said the pain was something he couldn’t even put into words. “Bones poking out, muscles, if I try to move my fingers, you could see it twitching,” Merda said.

While an alligator attack leaving his arm dismembered might have been scary enough, Merda wasn’t out of the woods yet. Quite literally. Once he got himself to shore, he was still lost. Now dazed after the gruesome attack, he fought to survive as he spent three whole days lost in the swamp.

“I felt like I was walking in circles, I didn’t know,” he said. “So I followed the sun and power lines, stuff I could see.”

Merda said he wondered and screamed for help hoping someone would come along and save him. On day number three, he finally came across a fence. Lucky for him, a man was on the other side tending to his property. “I said a gator got my arm, he said, ‘holy smokes man!’” Merda exclaimed.

Once he finally got some much-needed water, an ambulance came to bring him to Sarasota Memorial Hospital. There, surgeons amputated most of what was left of his right arm.

“Do not feed the gators and you guys know who you are, throwing rocks at them, I’ve seen it on the job sites, leave them gators alone,” Merda warns.

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