A MAN'S arm was brutally bitten off by an alligator as it tried to drag him into a death roll – before he got lost in the wilderness for three days.
Eric Merda was visiting Lake Manatee Fish Camp in Myakka City, Florida, when his trip turned into an extraordinary tale of survival.
When he eventually reached the sprawling lake at the site, the exhausted explorer decided to swim across rather than walk around.
But his time-saving decision almost proved deadly when he dived into the water and was confronted by an alligator.
Eric told CBS Miami: "I looked 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… completely".
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The Florida native was forced to fight for his life as the reptile dragged him below the surface three times.
His arm was still trapped between its mighty jaws when Eric was yanked into a terrifying death roll.
The dizzying movement is the reptile's favoured method of subduing its prey – latching onto its victim and spinning uncontrollably until its target is torn to pieces.
Eric says the beast then "took off with his arm", leaving him desperately wading through the gator-infested waters.
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He eventually managed to climb out of the lake, but the disoriented local could not find his way back.
Despite having one of his arms horrifically ripped off, he spent the next three days wandering through the wilderness with "bones poking out".
Eric recalled: "You can't see anything… sometimes I felt like I was walking in circles, I didn't know.
"So I started following the sun and power lines, stuff like that, things I could see."
He roamed the remote swamp before he finally spotted a fence – with a man on the other side.
He continued: "I said, 'Hey man I need some help' and he says, 'What are you doing?' and I said, 'A gator got my arm'.
"He says, 'Holy smokes man'."
Eric miraculously survived his three-day expedition in the wasteland and is now adjusting to life without one limb.
He urged visitors to avoid taking a dip in Lake Manatee, due to the deadly predators lurking underwater.
The Florida man added: " Do not feed the gators alright and you guys know who you are, throwing rocks at them and stuff.
"I've seen it on the job sites, leave them gators alone."
Swimming is permitted in designated areas of the camping site in the sunshine state, but alligators are known to be sleeping below the surface in some spots during the day.
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The attack comes after a fisherman was attacked by FOUR crocodiles who dragged him underwater in a chilling death roll in Zimbabwe.
Alexander Chimedza had one beast's jaws clamped on each limb but was saved after a 40-minute struggle as his pals rained down stones from the bank.
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