A South Carolina woman was killed after being dragged into water by an alligator while out for a walk, an attack that was the first of its kind in decades in the state, authorities said.
The victim, identified by police as 45-year-old Cassandra Cline, was walking her dog near a lagoon at Sea Pines Plantation, a gated community on Hilton Head Island, when she was attacked about 9:30 a.m. Monday, witnesses told the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.
Cline was dragged into the lagoon and pulled underwater by the alligator, which was reported to be about 8 feet long, officials said.
Cline was found still alive in the lagoon, but died at the scene. An autopsy will determine her cause of death, police said. Her dog did not appear to be harmed in the attack.
Authorities found the alligator they believed responsible for the attack it was “dispatched at the scene,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement. The animal was later described as being “disposed of.”
Officials from Sea Pines Living said in a statement posted to Facebook they were “extremely saddened by this news and will share information with the community as it is made available.”
There has been only one reported death thought to have involved an alligator in South Carolina’s recorded history, but the circumstances surrounding that death are not clear.
Bonnie Walker was found dead in a retention pond behind her nursing home in 2016. The 90-year-old woman was believed to have wandered away, and there were no witnesses who saw how she ended up in the water.
Walker had been severely bitten, but officials could not say if she had been attacked by an alligator before or after she went into the pond. Investigators at the time said they believed she may have fallen down a steep embankment and her landing in the water attracted an alligator’s attention.