A woman trying to protect her dog has been killed by an alligator who pulled her into a lagoon at a private resort in the United States, authorities say.
- Woman killed while walking in residential area
- Alligator initially went for dog, but dragged woman into water
- Alligator attacks in US are uncommon
Cassandra Cline, 45, from South Carolina, was walking the dog along a residential area of Sea Pines Resort when she was attacked, state and local officials said.
The 2.5-metre alligator was later found and killed, said David Lucas, a spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
"She was walking the dog near the lagoon and the alligator came out of the water and tried to get the dog," Mr Lucas said.
"The lady tried to rescue the dog and a maintenance worker ran over to help."
Both were trying to save the dog, but the alligator dragged the woman into the water, he said.
The dog was unharmed.
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources captain Robert McCullough said it was "common practice" to put down aggressive alligators, but it would "take some take some time to confirm it's the right alligator".
Blake Smith, 34, was leaving his house on Monday morning (US time) when he saw police cars and firetrucks.
Mr Smith said that at times, alligators had been spotted in yards or pools, but Sea Pines quickly removed those animals.
"It's odd because this is the first time we've heard about an aggressive alligator around a human in the five years that we've been living here," he said.
Sea Pines said in a statement that it was working with authorities "to ensure necessary access to the site while the investigation is underway."
'1 in 3 million' chance of being killed
Alligators typically roll their victim beneath the water's surface until their prey stops breathing, before stashing the body to eat later.
In June, a nearly 4-metre alligator in Florida killed a woman in an attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said.
Two years ago, an alligator snatched a 2-year-old boy from the edge of a lake at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.
However attacks are uncommon in the United States, where the majority of animal-related deaths are caused by farm animals, hornets, wasps, bees and dogs, according to a study published in March.
According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million.
From 1948 to 2017, the commission has documented 401 people bitten by alligators, including 24 fatalities.
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