Woman killed after tangling with alligator that went for her dog in South Carolina

South Carolina woman killed by alligator while trying to protect her dog at resort
Authorities said Monday a woman in South Carolina has been attacked and killed by an alligator as she was walking her dog near a lagoon.

An alligator killed a person in South Carolina on Monday, marking only about the 20th time this has happened in over four decades. It was the second fatal alligator attack in the state in two years.

The victim was Cassandra Cline, a 45-year-old resident of the Sea Pines community on Hilton Head Island, about 160 kilometres southwest of Charleston.

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She was walking her dog near a lagoon when an eight-foot alligator attacked, CBS reported.

The reptile came out of the water and went for her dog, who had come too close to the water, reported CNN.

Cline tried to rescue the pet as a maintenance staffer stepped in to help, David Lucas, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, told CBS.

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The alligator took hold of the dog’s leash and tangled with Cline; the dog escaped injury.

But then the reptile came after her, pulling her 14 feet into a lagoon, reported CNN.

Her body was found in the water.

An alligator swims in the waters at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Fla.
An alligator swims in the waters at Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Delray Beach, Fla. RHONA WISE/AFP/Getty Images

The alligator was “located and dispatched at the scene,” said a statement from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

An autopsy will take place at the Medical University of South Carolina so that the cause of her death can be identified.

Alligator attacks don’t happen often, Lucas told CBS.

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Approximately 20 attacks have happened on humans in South Carolina since 1976, but none was fatal until a 2016 incident that saw a 90-year-old woman found dead after she walked away from a home in Charleston.

Investigators believed that she slipped or fell into a pond before the alligator attacked.

— With files from The Associated Press