TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - A Florida man was hospitalized after an alligator chomped off his hand and forearm as he sought to elude authorities by running into a lake, police said on Thursday.
Jessie Kingsinger, 21, was missing three-quarters of his left arm when he crawled out of the lake in a wooded area behind an apartment complex, said Sergeant Gary Gross, a spokesman for the Lakeland Police Department.
He apparently had run into the water as authorities searched for him on Wednesday evening, after his mother asked for help getting him to a medical facility for psychiatric evaluation.
"We expect it had just happened, seconds before he crawled out, otherwise he would have bled out immediately," Gross said in a telephone interview.
Kingsinger was hospitalized for treatment of his injuries, along with an unspecified psychiatric issue, he said. Florida wildlife officers were searching for the alligator on Thursday.
A contact for Kingsinger could not immediately be reached for comment.
(Reporting by Letitia Stein; Editing by Marguerita Choy)