An extremely rare alligator attack claimed the life of a 45-year-old South Carolina woman Monday. The Island Packet reports Cassandra Cline of Hilton Head Island was walking her dog in a residential area of the private Sea Pines Resort she lived in around 9:30am when the attack occurred. "It appears the alligator went after her dog and she tried to protect it," said Sam Chappalear of South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. Another rep for the department says the alligator came out of a lagoon to go after the dog. A police release says Cline was pulled underwater and that the dog apparently escaped unharmed.
Chappalear confirmed the 8-foot gator thought to have killed Cline has been caught and put down. The AP reports the state has recorded only about 20 alligator attacks on people since 1976; through 2016, none were fatal. In that year, a 90-year-old woman was found dead in a pond after wandering from her Charleston assisted living facility. (An alligator caused a fatal car crash in May in South Carolina.)