Hilton Head Gator Kills Woman Walking Her Dog

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A woman walking her dog was killed this morning when an alligator attacked her and dragged her into a small pond at an upscale Hilton Head residential and vacation community.

Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office received a call around 9:30 a.m. on Monday morning, Aug. 20, about a possible alligator attack near a lagoon in Sea Pines Plantation, a resort area at Hilton Head Island. Officers arrived and discovered the woman’s body in the water.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department issued an advisory this morning at 11:34 a.m.

“At approximately 9:30 this morning, Sheriff’s Office deputies, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue and Sea Pines Security personnel responded to a lagoon off of Wood Duck Road in Sea Pines Plantation to a report of an alligator attacking a woman inside of a lagoon. When they arrived, fire personnel located the deceased woman inside of the lagoon and recovered her body, while deputies interviewed witnesses. Witness accounts indicate that the woman—who will be identified after her next of kin are notified—was walking her dog near the lagoon when she was attacked and pulled underwater by the alligator.”

UPDATE: Authorities have released the identity of the woman killed. Beaufort County Coroner Edward Allen identified the woman as 45-year-old Cassandra Cline, of Hilton Head Island.

After the attack, authorities were on the scene searching for the alligator, which witnesses estimated to be approximately 8 feet long. At 3:30 p.m., GON was awaiting confirmation from South Carolina DNR on reports that an alligator had been captured and killed in the small pond where the attack occurred, and whether they have determined if it was the same alligator.

The dog was not hurt during the alligator attack on the woman. There is speculation the gator was going after the dog.

According to witnesses, the woman was walking the dog when the alligator attacked and pulled her into the water. Sea Pines Security staff reportedly have viewed surveillance video of the attack.

One commenter on Facebook said, “This report is indeed sad and disturbing! When will people realize and understand that you do not walk a dog anywhere near a lagoon!” That comment elicited the following response from another Facebook user, “Of course it’s disturbing, but it’s incredibly rare. You probably have a better chance of being struck by lightning then being attacked by an alligator while walking by a pond.”

A Facebook post from the Sea Pines community page said, “Sea Pines CSA is actively working with local authorities to ensure necessary access to the site while the investigation is underway. At this time, little information is available about the individual or incident. We are extremely saddened by this news and will share information with the community as it is made available.”

The woman attacked today was only the second person known to have been killed in an alligator attack in South Carolina history. The other occurred in 2016 when a 90-year-old woman’s body was recovered from a retention pond near Charleston. A coroner’s report said the woman died from “multiple sharp and blunt force injuries.” Officials say her injuries were consistent with those inflicted by an alligator.

In Florida two months ago, a woman walking her dog in Broward County was attacked by a huge alligator and dragged into a pond at Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park in Davie, Fla. Divers found the woman’s body, and her arm was found inside a 12-foot, 6-inch alligator killed by authorities. In July, a Florida girl was rafting on Alexander Springs Creek in the Ocala National Forest when an alligator came after her and forced her to climb a tree until police arrived.

Georgia’s first fatal alligator attack occurred in 2007 when an elderly Canadian woman visited Skidaway Island was attacked at a lagoon at The Landings, a gated community similar to Sea Pines on Hilton Head. In a 4-3 decision, the Georgia Supreme Court in 2016 said the Landings community near Savannah and its homeowners association could not be held liable for the fatal attack.

 

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