A 69-year-old woman died on Tuesday after being attacked by an alligator near a lagoon bordering a golf course on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said the woman was walking her dog when she was dragged into the water. Officials said it was unclear where exactly she was brought into the water.
Officials also did not say what happened to the dog.
The sheriff's office said rescue efforts were made as an alligator appeared and guarded the woman, interrupting emergency efforts. Officials said the alligator was safely removed and they were able to retrieve the woman's body.
The sheriff's office said this is the second fatal alligator attack within the county in the last year. Last year, an 88-year-old woman was fatally attacked by an alligator at a lagoon near her home.
Fatal alligator attacks in the United States are generally rare. Research conducted by Utah State found that fatal alligator attacks happen less than once a year in the U.S.
The U.S. averages fewer than eight fatal wildlife attacks a year.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources said alligators are ambush predators and use their camouflage to stay hidden and submerged in water to quietly approach prey. The South Carolina Lowcountry is home to nearly 100,000 alligators, officials say.
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