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Neighbors rescue woman bitten by alligator while walking dog on Hilton Head Island

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Posted at 3:28 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 15:35:48-04

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. — A woman who was bitten by an 8-foot alligator in South Carolina was able to get away thanks to the actions of two neighbors.

The Town of Hilton Head Island said in a statement that its rescue crews responded to the scene at about 8:19 a.m. Thursday and transported the woman to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia.

The woman told officials that she was walking her small dog around a lagoon in the Hilton Head Plantation when the alligator attacked her. The dog was not harmed.

Rescue personnel say a witness heard the commotion around the lagoon that’s located near her home, so she investigated and found the victim in the water with the alligator latched to her lower leg(s).

The witness and husband then reportedly entered the water and tried to pull the victim back to safety. At one point, WTOC reports that the husband picked up a shovel and repeatedly hit the alligator until it let go of the woman.

Eventually, the neighbors were able to free the woman and call 911, according to officials.

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has arranged for the removal and euthanization of the alligator, and plan to examine it to determine if it had been fed.

“When fed, alligators overcome their natural wariness and can begin to associate people with food,” wrote the town.

Officials say other details about the attack are still under investigation.

"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.