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Elderly woman, 88, killed by a nine-foot alligator where she lived after she slipped into a pond

An elderly woman was killed by an alligator in her gated community after she slipped into a pond while gardening near where the creature was lurking. 

The body of the woman, identified as 88-year-old Nancy Becker, was spotted near an alligator that looked like it was ‘standing guard’ at 11.15am yesterday in Sun City Hilton Head, a gated adult community city just north of Savannah in South Carolina.

The death is the fourth confirmed fatal alligator attack in the United States this year and second one in South Carolina.

Emergency services were able to recover Becker’s body around 1pm, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. 

Authorities said that the Sun City resident had been doing a spot of gardening near the pond on Monday morning when she slipped into the water. She was unable to get out in time before the alligator struck.

Major Angela Viens, of Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, said officials with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were still attempting to capture the alligator at 3pm. 

Victim Nancy Becker, 88, lived at Sun City Hilton Head, a gated adult community city just north of Savannah in South Carolina

Sun City Hilton Head is a sprawling community of over 16,000 active, elder residents, with estimates that there are over 200 ponds and lagoons in the community

Sun City Hilton Head is a sprawling community of over 16,000 active, elder residents, with estimates that there are over 200 ponds and lagoons in the community

An elderly woman was killed by a nine foot alligator in her gated community where she lived after she slipped into a pond while gardening near where the creature was lurking. Pictured: An alligator in Sarasota

An elderly woman was killed by a nine foot alligator in her gated community where she lived after she slipped into a pond while gardening near where the creature was lurking. Pictured: An alligator in Sarasota

The alligator, identified as a 9-foot 8-inch male, was eventually captured from the pond on Monday afternoon and killed, according to authorities.

Sun City Hilton Head is a sprawling community of over 16,000 active, elder residents. Viens estimates that there are over 200 ponds and lagoons in the community.

Another South Carolina resident was killed by an alligator near a pond just up the coast just outside Myrtle Beach on June 24.

Two more alligator deaths have been recorded this year in Florida. One a 47-year old man apparently searching for a frisbee on May 31 and another an elderly woman, 80, who fell into a pond near a golf course on July 15.

47-year-old Sean Thomas McGuinness’ body was found missing three limbs at the lake at the John S Taylor Park in Largo, Florida.

Investigators now believe he had gone into the 53-acre freshwater lake looking for UFOs when he was attacked.

The elderly woman, identified as Rose Marie Wiegand, attracted the predators with her panicked splashing.

Investigators say that as Wiegand was struggling to stay afloat at Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood, two alligators were seen swimming toward her. 

They then grabbed her before she could escape. 

Despite these stories, alligator attacks are very rare, according to Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

They claim an unfortunate individual has more chance of being attacked by a grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park than attacked by an alligator in Florida. 

At the end of May, 47-year-old Sean Thomas McGuinness' body was found missing three limbs at the lake at the John S Taylor Park in Largo, Florida

At the end of May, 47-year-old Sean Thomas McGuinness’ body was found missing three limbs at the lake at the John S Taylor Park in Largo, Florida

An elderly woman died after she fell into an alligator-infested pond near her home at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood Friday night

An elderly woman died after she fell into an alligator-infested pond near her home at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood Friday night

However, they claim that ‘anywhere there is standing water, an alligator might be found.’

The longest alligator ever caught in Louisiana was 19 feet, 2 inches, back in 1890, but the average length is 11 feet, 2 inches. They are capable of running at speeds of 15mph – much faster than a human.

Alligators can be found all along the south coast and parts of the eastern seaboard of the United States, but are mostly prevalent in Louisiana and Florida. They also inhabit some wetlands in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

Spring and summertime is the peak time for alligator attacks, when there is increased alligator activity as it’s typically when they breed and look for new habitats. 

Advice for living near alligators is to never swim at night, never feed them, keep pets and children away from the water’s edge and stay alert when you are in territory where they may live.    

There have also been at least five attacks over the past year where people survived.

On June 22, for example, Samuel Ray told WRAL he was attacked by an alligator while playing catch near a pond.

‘It was about a foot away from the water,’ he recounted. ‘And then as soon as I put my hand on the ball, I bent over and picked it up – that’s when I saw the gator’s eye.

‘It lunged out, and it as so fast, it was like a lightning strike.’

Ray said the gator managed to clamp down on his hand, and his shoulder was dislocated. Still, he knew he had to do something – so he punched the alligator until it let him go and ran to safety.

In the end, he suffered a detached nerve and a lot of blood loss, but after three surgeries his hand remains intact. 

And just a few days before, WCSC reports, a South Carolina man suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he was trying to help his dog get away from an alligator attack.

The dog also survived the incident and was doing fine. 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission estimated there are 1.3 million alligators in the state, the Miami Herald reports, but the state only averages ‘eight unprovoked alligator bites each year.’

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