The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) said that a woman has died on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, after an “encounter” with an alligator. The police were called at around 5 p.m. on Friday, May 1, to the Salt Cedar Lane area of Kiawah Island, which is about 25 miles southwest of Charleston.
A statement about the attack indicates that the alligator was killed and retrieved by a deputy, and they are still investigating the incident. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the coroner’s office were also on scene and are assisting the investigation.
The CCSO posted about the incident on Twitter:
The post reads: “About 5p today, deputies responded to pond near Salt Cedar Ln, Kiawah Island, for report of alligator encounter w/ a woman. The woman has died. A deputy fatally shot and retrieved the gator. [South Carolina Department of Natural Resources] & coroner also responded. Incident is still under investigation.”
According to ABC4, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 58-year-old Cynthia Covert, of Johns Island. Police have not yet provided more details about the alligator encounter. Heavy has reached out to CCSO for more information.
This story is still developing.
There Have Now Been 3 Fatal Alligator Attacks in South Carolina in the Last 4 Years
According to ABC News, this is the third fatal alligator attack in South Carolina in the last four years, and there were none recorded before that. In 2016, a 90-year-old woman was killed by an alligator when she walked out of a nursing home in Charleston. In August 2018, a 45-year-old woman walking her dog on Hilton Head Island was attacked and killed.
An August 2019 article about alligator attacks in South Carolina stated that there have been 23 reported attacks in the state. The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Jay Butfiloski heads up the alligator program and keeps stats on incidents as far back as 1915.
Kiawah Island Is Primarily a Private Golf & Luxury Beach Resort
Kiawah Island is a sea island in South Carolina that’s mostly a private beach and golf resort, home to the Kiawah Island Golf Resort. The population on the island was 1,626 at the 2010 census. According to the Kiawah Island website, the island is 13.4 square miles and it has “10 miles of beaches, preserved maritime forests, sand dunes [and] marshes.”
The FAQ page of the website says that based on annual alligator surveys, there is an estimated 600 to 700 alligators on the island. It says, “Alligators bask almost daily on the edges of ponds to regulate their body temperature. It is not necessary to report these types of alligator encounters.” Heavy reached out to the Kiawah Island Town Hall for more information about the incident but has not yet heard back.
The incident was said to have happened at a pond near Salt Cedar Lane. Satellite images of the road in question show that it is a fairly developed street, with many homes lining it and backing onto a creek. The road also runs along pond 065 for a distance, although it’s unclear where exactly in the area the incident occurred.