Crime & Public Safety

Coroner releases cause of death of Hilton Head woman killed by alligator in Sea Pines

‘What do you do? Do you jump in the water?’ Witness calls 911 during alligator attack

A witness called 911 after a woman was attacked by an alligator on Hilton Head Island, S.C., on August 20, 2018. Witnesses say the alligator dragged her into a lagoon while she was walking her dog on a golf course in Sea Pines.
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A witness called 911 after a woman was attacked by an alligator on Hilton Head Island, S.C., on August 20, 2018. Witnesses say the alligator dragged her into a lagoon while she was walking her dog on a golf course in Sea Pines.

Local officials have released the cause of death of the 45-year-old Hilton Head Island woman who was killed by an alligator Monday morning in Sea Pines.

Cassandra Cline was trying to protect her dog when she was bitten by a 9-foot alligator and dragged into a lagoon, S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Regional Coordinator Sam Chappelear said in a Monday night news conference.

“The cause of death was drowning as result of an alligator attack,” Beaufort County coroner Ed Allen told The Island Packet on Thursday.

Allen declined to go into details about any other injuries Cline suffered.

A woman was killed in August 2018 during an alligator attack on Hilton Head. The woman was walking her dog near a lagoon in Sea Pines when the attack occurred, police say.



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According to a Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office report, Cline had a broken left arm and apparent bite marks, including one on her right hand.

Cline was pronounced dead at the scene when law enforcement officials arrived on Governor’s Lane, the report said.

“The alligator grabbed the leash instead of the dog,” Chappelear previously said. “There was some sort of tug-of-war with her trying to get the dog back via the leash, and in turn, the alligator drug her and the dog into the water.”

Cline’s dog was unharmed. The alligator believed to be responsible for the attack was caught and euthanized.

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A maintenance worker was on the golf course when he heard screaming behind him and turned to see Cline being pulled into the lagoon by her hand or arm, the report said. Cline was in water up to her knees by the time he saw her.

The worker told police he was on the other side of the pond and did not know how to help so he “advised his friend to run and call 911,” the report said.

Her body was taken to the morgue at Hilton Head Regional Hospital, according to the Sheriff’s Office report.

The coroner, Sheriff’s Office, Hilton Head Fire Rescue, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, and Sea Pines security all responded to the scene.

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