A woman walking along a golf course near her home in southwest Florida was fatally attacked by two large alligators after she slipped and fell into a pond, officials said Saturday.
After the unidentified elderly woman tumbled into the pond, she “struggled to stay afloat,” the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
“While in the water, two alligators were observed near the victim and ultimately grabbed her while in the water,” the statement added.
The tragedy occurred around 8 p.m. Friday at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood, about 30 miles south of Sarasota.
Her body was found shortly afterward, and she was declared dead at the scene.
An alligator trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission removed the two suspect alligators — one 8 feet, 10 inches long, the other 7 feet, 7 inches — as part of the investigation, the sheriff’s office said.
“The FWC and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office will be working jointly on this investigation until cause of death is determined by the Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office,” the wildlife agency said in a statement.
The country club is located in a 1,000-acre private gated community that features lakes and nature preserves, according to its website.
The Boca Royale Golf and Country Club is a gated community in south Sarasota County of about 1,000 acres with homes, lakes, golfing and nature preserves, according to its website. There are about 1,000 homes on the property, with several on the water.
Doug Foote, the general manager of the country club, declined to comment because the investigation is ongoing. But he told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune there were warning signs about alligators posted near the water.
One local resident told the Tribune that there are too many gators in the area.
Fatal alligator attacks in the state are rare. From 1948 to 2021, Florida reported 442 unprovoked bite incidents from alligators; 26 resulted in fatalities, according to the Wildlife Commission.
A man was killed last month in South Carolina when an 11-foot alligator pulled him into a retention pond in a Myrtle Beach country club community.