Filed at 9:22 a.m. ET
LAKELAND, Fla. (AP) -- Sheriff's deputies pulled a naked man from the jaws of a nearly 12-foot long alligator that almost completely severed the man's arm, the sheriff's office said.
Four deputies waded through thick mud about 20 feet into Lake Parker to find Adrian Apgar, 45, around 4 a.m. Wednesday morning, the sheriff's office said. They were responding to multiple reports about a man screaming for help.
Deputy Billy Osborne said he pulled Apgar's arms while the gator gripped the man's lower half and eventually helped pull Apgar free. The deputies said they couldn't shoot the animal because it was too dark and they might have hit the victim.
It was not clear why Apgar was in the water at such an early hour. Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Apgar told deputies he had been smoking crack.
Apgar was taken to the hospital in critical condition with an apparent broken right arm, leg injuries and his left arm hanging by a tendon. Hospital officials did not immediately release information about his condition.
None of the deputies were injured.
Fish and Wildlife trappers said they believe they caught the alligator near the site of the attack later Wednesday, although they said they couldn't be sure it was the same animal.