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A Florida man survived three days in a swamp after an alligator tore off his arm while trying to swim in the lake — a move he says “wasn’t the smartest decision a Florida boy could make.”

Eric Merda, 43, of Sarasota, was visiting Lake Manatee Fish Camp in Myakka City on July 17 when he got lost.

He said he got to the water and decided to swim across.

“I look back and there’s an alligator on my right,” he told 10 Tampa Bay.

“She grabbed my forearm, so I grabbed her like this, she tried to roll past.”

Merda said he was dragged under the water three times, but he fought back and eventually the alligator took off — with his arm.

“She broke her head so my arm went all the way back,” he said.

Merda managed to swim to shore and scream for help in agony.

“Boats sticking out, muscles, when I try to move my fingers, you can see it vibrate,” he said.

Eric Merda, 43, talks about when an alligator grabbed his arm while swimming in a lake

Eric Merda, 43, talks about when an alligator grabbed his arm while swimming in a lake

Merda can be seen in a photo taken after the July 17 attack

Merda can be seen in a photo taken after the July 17 attack

Merda can be seen in a photo taken after the July 17 attack

Merda said he walked for three days until he found a fence and saw a man he asked to help.

‘I said an alligator gave me an arm, he said, ‘holy man!’

The rescuer said he found Merda naked and bloodied in the swamp.

“I didn’t know if he was dead or alive when I first stepped on him,” the rescuer said.

“And there’s nothing, no words can describe it, you know.”

He told Fox News 13 that Merda was clearly terrified.

“He was in a lot of pain. He was like just helping, helping, helping. He talked to us and stuff.

“They cut the fence, helped him up and he even walked to the ambulance.”

Merda was immediately flown to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where doctors amputated the remains of his arm.

An alligator trapper was dispatched to the scene, but it is unknown if the animal that attacked Merda has been found.

There have been at least six alligator attacks near Tampa so far this year, 10 Tampa Bay reported.

Fatal alligator attacks are rare in the United States and usually occur about once a year. Still, there have been two so far in the Tampa area.

On July 15, an 80-year-old woman was killed after falling into the canal near her home at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood, about 30 miles south of Sarasota.

A man reportedly searching for Frisbees in a lake was killed in late May in Largo, a town near Tampa Bay.

Merda is pictured before the attack, with his right arm taken

Merda is pictured before the attack, with his right arm taken

Merda is pictured before the attack, with his right arm taken

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