Dramatic rescue: Neighbors save woman from jaws of alligator

As of Thursday afternoon, there was no information available on the victim's injuries or condition. Her dog was uninjured.


A woman who was attacked by an alligator Thursday morning in Hilton Head, South Carolina, is alive thanks to some quick-thinking neighbors.

According to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office, the attack happened at around 8:15 a.m. on Rookery Way in Hilton Head Plantation.

Deputies say the woman had been walking her dog next to a lagoon behind her home when an eight-foot-long alligator grabbed her legs.

At that point, a neighbor heard the commotion and saw the woman being dragged into the water, according to the sheriff's office. The neighbor called for her husband who grabbed a shovel and beat the alligator until it released the victim.

"The victim’s legs were damaged; however, the full extent of her injuries is unknown, nor do we know if there were any other injuries to the victim," a Hilton Head Plantation (HHP) representative said in an email to residents.

The victim was taken to Memorial Health in Savannah and was able to talk to her daughter while en route to the hospital.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources captured and euthanized the alligator and will examine it to see if it was being fed.

"We are very grateful for the quick thinking and brave neighbors who fought off the alligator and held onto the victim who was being pulled into the water by the alligator. We are also most grateful for the work of our Security Officers and HHI Fire and Rescue, who treated the victim at the scene and transported the victim to the hospital, SCDNR, for their quick response to remove the alligator and the Beaufort County Sherriff’s Deputies for their quick response and assistance," the HHP representative said. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family."

HHP added that they believe the victim lived alone.

As of Thursday afternoon, there was no information available on the victim's injuries or condition. Her dog was uninjured.

“This is an unfortunate incident. We advise residents to be aware of their surroundings, especially if they are taking walks with small pets near lagoons that are habitats for alligators,” said Joheida Fister, Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue Deputy Chief.

A longtime resident of Hilton Head Plantation, Neal Warner, told sister station WJCL he's seen alligators in the area before, but they never bothered anyone.

"I would see them pop into the water, they would never ever linger for us," Warner said.

Warner told WJCL he is now afraid to walk his own dog in the area where the attack happened, despite the alligator being removed.

"It's just not worth it, there are other places to safely walk," Warner said.

You may remember, there have been alligator attacks in Sun City and Sea Pines as well. Both of those incidents also involved someone walking their dog.

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