When it comes to death, there's not many real great ways to go. But getting pulled underwater by an alligator while out walking your dog seems especially horrifying. That's apparently what happened to a 45-year-old South Carolina woman, identified as Cassandra Cline, who was pronounced dead on Monday morning. Should it be confirmed by officials, Cline's death would be just the second fatal alligator attack in the Palmetto State in decades. An autopsy will be performed to determine her exact cause of death.
Cline was walking her dog near a lagoon in a gated community on Hilton Head Island when a gator attacked and dragged her into the water. Witnesses were able to get her out of the water alive, but shortly afterward she died at the scene. The reptile appeared to go after Cline's dog, and she reportedly attempted to protect it. ABC News notes that her dog was unharmed in all of this.
As is the norm in these rare instances, the local sheriff's office said that the 8-foot alligator they believe was responsible was "located and dispatched at the scene."
If Cline's autopsy confirms her death was caused by said alligator, it would be just the second such death in South Carolina since 1976, which is when the state began keeping records for such a thing. According to David Lucas of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the only other death in that time period can't be conclusively pinned on a gator either.
“It was in 2016,” said Lucas. “A lady wandered off from a nursing home and she was found [deceased] in a pond, bitten pretty badly. But we don’t know—and I don’t think we’ll ever be able to determine because there were no witnesses—whether she fell in and was then bitten, or whether she was attacked and then dragged into the pond.”