A woman has been attacked and killed by an alligator while walking her dog.
She was found with the gator standing 'guarding' her when authorities arrived at the resort - which is bordered by a lagoon.
In a post to Facebook, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said Hilton Head Island Fire Rescue, Beaufort County Coroner's Office and Spanish Wells security personnel attended the scene at 'approximately 9:28am.
The statement reads: "A 69-year-old resident of the community was found at the edge of the lagoon and appeared to be unresponsive.
"Rescue efforts were made and an alligator appeared and was guarding the woman, interrupting emergency efforts."
Beaufort County Sheriff's Office revealed the alligator was 'safely removed' from the area, with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources adding the alligator was 'nine-foot by nine-inch' and 'euthanised' in order to be taken away from the scene'.
The woman's body was recovered and an autopsy is now being carried out by Beaufort County Coroner's Office.
"Deputies learned that the woman was walking her dog earlier this morning when the attack occurred. It is not clear at this point where she was taken into the water," it added.
The sheriff's office warned followers the attack marks the 'second fatal alligator attack in Beaufort County in less than a year'.
It said: "On August 15, 2022, an 88-year-old Sun City woman was attacked by an alligator at a lagoon near her home."
The investigation is still underway and the results of the autopsy have not been made public.
People have flooded to the comments in debate over what should happen to the alligator as a result of the attack - alligators are known to have previously been put down for killing a human.
One Facebook user argued: "Way too many gators there, but they’re only doing what is natural to them, people need to stay away from all the lagoons. People need to change their behavior and leave these animals and/ or reptiles alone. If you live in the low country, or you are visiting the low country, you should know of the massive alligators there, make better choices people."
"People choose to live near the water near wildlife, it’s a chance that they take the animals shouldn’t be punished for the human behavior and choice," another said.
However, another resolved: "Some of you are already blaming this poor woman for simply walking her dog. It’s clear that we are seeing more alligators and that they are very aggressive this year in particular," she wrote. "Funny when some one is attacked by a shark you never read poor shark. So why are we always reading about the poor alligator? I’m all for respecting nature and wild life but come on -human life trumps the life of a reptile."
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