UPDATED 05/7/20 9:36 a.m. ET: The woman who was attacked by an alligator on a South Carolina island last week reportedly tried to touch the animal before she was killed. According to the Associated Press, 58-year-old Cynthia Covert came to the gated community to give a homeowner a manicure on Friday. Covert noticed the alligator while she was working on the woman's porch, and when she finished, she got closer to take pictures of the animal.
When the homeowner and her husband screamed at Covert to get away from the alligator because it killed a deer a few days prior, Covert told them, "I don't look like a deer." She reached to touch the alligator when it attacked her, dragging her into the nearby pond. When the husband and a neighbor grabbed a rope and threw it to Covert as she surfaced, she said, "I guess I won't do this again." She was quickly pulled under again, the police report noted.
It took ten minutes before her body surfaced, allowing deputies and firefighters to recover her. An autopsy revealed that she drowned despite severe injuries to her leg, assumedly from the alligator.
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On Friday at 5 p.m., deputies responded to a call on Kiawah Island of an “an alligator encounter with an adult female,” according to Capt. Roger Antonio, a spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office. The Charleston Post and Courier reports that a deputy then shot and killed the alligator before recovering its body.
The Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified the woman as 58-year-old Cynthia Covert. The autopsy will is expected to be finished on Monday.
Deaths from alligator encounters in South Carolina are rare. The state’s first alligator fatality was in July 2016, when a 90-year-old woman was attacked in a pond outside an extended care facility. The state’s second fatal attack happened in August 2018, when a 45-year-old woman was killed at a resort on Hilton Head Island.
South Carolina has seen 20 alligator incidents since 1976. Besides the latest case, only the 2016 and 2018 cases were fatal.