MOORE HAVEN, Fla. — A 10-foot alligator bit off the arm of a teenage swimmer, state wildlife officials said Tuesday.
Kaleb Langdale, 17, survived the encounter Monday in the Caloosahatchee River west of Lake Okeechobee. Wildlife officers caught and killed the alligator to retrieve the arm, but doctors were unable to reattach it.
‘‘We were able to kill the alligator and dissect the alligator, remove the arm, and transport the arm to the hospital to see if the doctors could reattach the limb,’’ said Jorge Pino, a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman.
The alligator was 10 or 11 feet long, Pino said.
The teen was in good condition Tuesday at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers.
His friends told Fort Myers television station WBBH that Langdale was in good spirits.
The alligator went straight for Langdale as he was swimming, Matt Baker said.
‘‘It came at him and he put his arm in the way instead of letting it get to his body. It took his arm and him under,’’ Baker said.
Another friend said Langdale popped out of the water shortly after being bitten. ‘‘He was waving saying, ‘Call the paramedics! My arm is gone!’ ’’ Gary Beck said.
The Glades County area where Langdale was swimming is known to have several large alligators in it, Pino said.
Alligators are more active this time of year because it is their mating season, which makes them more aggressive and inquisitive as they are looking for food and for mates.