Officials say a woman who was killed by an alligator was trying to protect her dog.
The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the attack happened around 9:30 a.m. Monday at the Sea Pines resort on Hilton Head. 45-year-old Cassandra Cline was walking her dog near a lagoon on the 13th green when the alligator attacked.
At a press conference Monday afternoon, Sam Chappalear, the assistant Chief of Wildlife with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources says it appears the alligator was originally going after Cline’s dog in the Monday morning attack.
Beaufort County Coroner Edward Allen says as Cline tried to save the dog, the gator got ahold of the leash and both Cline and the dog were pulled about 14ft into the lagoon and underwater.
Authorities say the dog was not hurt in the attack.
Chappalear says the alligator was 9ft-2in long and has since been caught and euthanized. A necropsy is scheduled.
The exact cause of death for Cline is yet to be determined, but an autopsy is scheduled at the Medical University of South Carolina here in Charleston.
This is a very rare occurrence and is only the second fatal alligator attack in South Carolina, the first was in 2016.
Beaufort county officials remind you: We live in the Lowcountry and share our space with alligators. It’s up to everyone to keep yourself and your pets safe.