Woman dragged into water and killed by 8ft alligator while trying to save her dog

Photo of Woman dragged into water and killed by 8ft alligator while trying to save her dog
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A woman was killed by an alligator while trying to save her dog when it launched out of a lagoon at a golf course where she regularly walked.

Cassandra Cline, 45, was pulled into the water by the 8ft predator as she walked her dog along a residential area of private Sea Pines Resort.

Authorities said she was trying to protect her border collie when she was killed near a holiday home she owned on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

South Carolina woman Cassandra Cline killed by alligator
South Carolina woman Cassandra Cline was killed by an alligator while walking her dog (Picture: CBS)

The alligator was later found and put down, Sam Chappalear of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources told the Island Packet newspaper.

‘It appears the alligator went after her dog and she tried to protect it,’ Mr Chappalear said, adding that the dog was unharmed.

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Thomas DiMaio, who rents a house across the street from the scene of the attack, said he heard shrieks while he was in the shower but thought they were a bird.

He went outside a half hour later to find a crowd gathering beside the road, where a bag of dog treats Cline had been carrying, one of her shoes and her hat dotted a trail leading to the water.

‘It’s really sad,’ Thomas said.

‘She didn’t have any children. The dog was her child, I guess.’

This photo provided by Thomas DiMaio shows an alligator that was shot by authorities on Hilton Head, S.C., Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, after it attacked and killed a woman walking her dog. (Thomas DiMaio via AP)
The alligator shot by authorities on Hilton Head Island after it was believed to be the animal that killed Mrs Cline (Thomas DiMaio via AP)
Law enforcement with Sea Pines Security, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office stand near where authorities say Cassandra Cline was dragged into a lagoon by an alligator and killed while trying to save her dog on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Cline was walking the dog along a residential area of Sea Pines Resort when she was attacked, state and local officials said. (Drew Martin/The Island Packet via AP)
Law enforcement and Sea Pines Security stand near where authorities say Cassandra Cline was dragged into a lagoon and killed (Picture: AP)

He said he often chatted to Cassandra as she walked her dog past his rented holiday home in the Sea Pines Resort.

She and her husband divided their time between Hilton Head and their home near Syracuse, New York, he added.

‘She was a very pleasant woman,’ Thomas said. ‘Very friendly.’

Captain Robert McCullough of the Department of Natural Resources said alligator attacks on humans are extremely rare.

Since 1976, there have been about 20 attacks on people in the state, he said. Until 2016, none of the attacks had been fatal.

In 2016, a 90-year-old woman wandered away from a Charleston care home and was found dead in a pond.

Law enforcement with S.C. Department of Natural Resources take pictures of the site where authorities say Cassandra Cline was dragged into a lagoon by an alligator and killed while trying to save her dog on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, on Hilton Head Island, S.C. Cline was walking the dog along a residential area of Sea Pines Resort when she was attacked, state and local officials said. (Drew Martin/The Island Packet via AP)
The lagoon in a residential area of Sea Pines Resort (Picture: AP)
Woman killed by alligator while trying to save her dog
Mrs Cline had a holiday home on Hilton Head Island and visited frequently with her husband and dog

Blake Smith, 34, was leaving his house when he saw police cars and fire engines in the neighbourhood.

‘I waited for about 30 minutes, then I started hearing rumours about what happened down the road from here,’ he told the Island Packet.

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‘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.

‘I have a young son, so it’s kind of concerning to see something like this could happen.’

Sea Pines said in a statement that it is working with authorities ‘to ensure necessary access to the site while the investigation is under way’.

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