WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Authorities received reports on Saturday about a missing person in Kiawah Island.
- The man was found dead with bites consistent to an alligator’s at the back of his property in Kiawah Island Club Drive.
- Officers gave tips to stay safe from alligators along with the reminder that alligators are most active during spring, summer and fall.
An elderly man from South Carolina was found dead in a pond behind his home. Authorities are working to determine if the cause of death was a fatal attack by an alligator, reports say.
According to a police statement, Saturday, 2 p.m., deputies with Charleston County Sheriff’s office, responded to a report of a missing person. They became suspicious of an alligator attack after they found the man’s car parked at his Kiawah Island Club Drive home with a “large pond” just behind his property, says PEOPLE.
“Helicopter observers located what appeared to be a motionless person in the pond, out of sight from the residence,” authorities said in the statement. “The deceased individual had bite marks and wounds consistent in appearance with an alligator encounter.”
According to NBC affiliate WCBD, deputies called the Department of Natural Resources to assist with the investigation, authorities reportedly saying that an alligator was on top of the victim.
The man had not been seen since 10 a.m., deputies said. His identity has not been made public, but he is believed to be a white male in his 80s.
When asked for comment whether or not they believe the man sustained the alligator bites before or after his death, the Charleston County Coroner’s Office did not respond immediately.
News about alligator attacks in the U.S. has made headlines in recent months.
In August 2018, Cassandra Cline, 45-year-old, was attacked and killed by an alligator on Hilton Head Island.
In May, Nichole Tillman, 26, of Melbourne, Florida, was attacked and seriously injured at Key Lake Wilderness Park in Cocoa.
Kiawah Island officials shared safety tips on the eve of Saturday’s event. They remind that alligators become “more active” in the spring, summer and fall.
“Most pond and lakes around the island have signage warning of the dangers of alligators but it’s important to remember that any pond or lake in the Lowcountry has the potential to have alligators in it,” town officials wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. “On Kiawah, the interaction between people and alligators is inevitable. Please remember the following safety tips.”
Tips include not feeding, approaching, harassing or throwing objects at alligators and staying far from them at least 60 feet — or four car lengths distance.