Man missing after alligator bites off his arm in Louisiana floodwaters

A 71-year-old Louisiana man is missing after an alligator bit off his arm in floodwaters caused by Hurricane Ida.

The man was attacked outside his home in the New Orleans suburb of Slidell, which was inundated with several feet of water.

His wife said he was attacked as he waded through the floodwaters around noon on Monday.

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Hurricane Ida wreaks havoc across Louisiana

She said she pulled him to safety and then went to get help in a boat, but when she returned home, he was not on the front steps.

The local sheriff’s office used boats and high-water vehicles to search for the man but have not found him.

His wife does not believe he has survived, according to WWL-TV.

Jason Gaubert, a spokesman for St. Tammany Sheriff’s Office, said: “I can confirm that a man was attacked by an alligator at his home on Richards Drive in Avery Estates. This area was flooded from the hurricane.

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“His wife witnessed the attack. The man lost his arm but somehow made it back to his steps. His wife went to get help when she returned he was missing.

“His body has not been recovered.”

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Death count from Ida could rise ‘considerably’

Officials said that wildlife could have been forced closer to neighbourhoods by the storm and urged people to be cautious.

There have already been two deaths blamed on Hurricane Ida – a motorist who drowned in New Orleans and a person struck by a falling tree outside Baton Rouge.

A spokesperson for John Bel Edwards, the Governor of Louisiana, said the state is likely to have many more confirmed fatalities given the level of destruction.

More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi – including all of New Orleans – were left without power after the storm made landfall on Sunday.

The damage was so substantial that officials have warned it could be weeks before the power grid is repaired.

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Ida ‘isn’t Katrina’, say residents

Hundreds of people have been rescued by boats, helicopters and high-water trucks after becoming trapped by floodwaters.

The governor’s office said more than 2,200 evacuees are staying in 41 shelters.

Residents living amid rivers and bayous along the state’s Gulf Coast retreated desperately to their attics and roofs, posting their addresses on social media so that search-and-rescue teams could find them.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday afternoon and continued to make its way inland with torrential rain.

The city of New Orleans urged people who left to stay away for at least a few days because of the lack of power and fuel, while the US Environmental Protection Agency issued emergency fuel waivers for Louisiana and Mississippi.

Some 18 water systems serving about 255,000 customers in Louisiana lost service, according to health officials.

Four hospitals have been damaged in the state, with 39 medical facilities forced to operate on generator power.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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