Sarasota man was swimming when alligator attacked him in Myakka City

A man lost a large part of his arm when was bitten by an alligator while swimming in a Florida lake. (Source: WWSB)
Published: Jul. 21, 2022 at 8:04 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

MYAKKA CITY, Fla. (WWSB) - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation is now saying that a Sarasota man was swimming at the Lake Manatee Fish Camp when he was attacked by an alligator.

“They usually move way before you’re close to them, they just want to get out of the way,” said Jonathan McPherson, a boater at Lake Manatee. “If the guy was swimming somewhere where he shouldn’t have been, then I understand why that happened.”

The victim of the gator attack is 43-year-old Eric Merda of Sarasota, who lost a large part of his arm. Wildlife expert Justin Matthews says based on the severity of the injury, it was most likely a good sized gator.

“A six-footer can rip your arm off, this alligator here being that close to people, I think someone has fed him before,” said Matthews.

Experts urge people to not swim in these types of bodies of water.

“The way they hunt, they lie on the bottom about 7 or 8 feet from the water’s edge, have these sensors on the end of their snout,” said Matthews. “When the sensors say there’s something out there, they just take one jump, grab it, take it back in.”

Merda was flown to Sarasota Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries. His condition is not being released by the hospital.

McPherson says this won’t stop him and others from enjoying these waters. “I personally carry a gun. I’m more worried about water moccasins than gators,” said McPherson.

FWC says they are still working on trapping this gator and are continuing their investigation.

Copyright 2022 WWSB. All rights reserved.