A woman was walking her dog in a South Carolina resort community Monday when an alligator attacked, witnesses said, dragging her under the waters of a nearby lagoon.
That’s according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, which responded at 9:30 a.m. Monday to find the body of Cassandra Cline, 45, inside the lagoon at the Hilton Head Island community known as Sea Pines.
“It appears the alligator went after her dog and she tried to protect it,” Sam Chappalear of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told Hilton Head’s The Island Packet.
The woman’s dog appeared unharmed, the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The alligator believed responsible for the attack was located and was killed “at the scene.”
Cline is the second person to die from an alligator attack in South Carolina history, the Department of Natural Resources told The Post and Courier, with the first such death occurring in July 2016.
Blake Smith, a 34-year-old neighbor who lives down from the lagoon on Wood Duck Road, told The Island Packet that while alligators had occasionally been removed from nearby yards and pools, he had never heard of one acting aggressively toward a human.
An autopsy at the Medical University of South Carolina will help county officials determine the precise cause of Cline’s death, the sheriff’s office said in the statement.
Bret Martin, president of the Sea Pines Community Services Associates, identified Cline as a property owner in the community.
“We are shocked and heartbroken over this loss and are praying for Ms.Cline’s family and loved ones during this difficult time,” he said in a letter to property owners on Facebook.
the lagoon as located in Sea Pines’ Club Course area
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