Florida woman dies after falling into pond and alligators grab her, authorities say

Staff report
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — An elderly woman in Florida died late Friday after she fell into a pond and was grabbed by two alligators, authorities said.

The incident occurred at a pond at the Boca Royale Golf and Country Club in Englewood, south of Sarasota, Sarasota sheriff's officials said. The woman, who was not identified and whose age was not released, was observed falling into a pond along the golf course near her home and struggling to stay afloat, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.

"While in the water, two alligators were observed near the victim and ultimately grabbed her while in the water," a news release said. 

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to capture and remove the alligators from the pond, officials said. No cause of death had been determined.

The Sheriff's Office is working with the FWC and medical examiner's office to investigate the incident and find the cause of death, sheriff's department spokesperson Doug Johnson wrote in an email to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 

FWC spokesperson Melody Kilborn said it was unclear whether the alligators were involved in the incident, only that they were observed to be near the body. The two alligators, one 8 feet 10 inches and the other 7 feet 7 inches, were removed from the pond shortly after the incident.

The Boca Royale Golf and Country Club is a gated community in South Sarasota County of about 1,000 acres and includes homes, lakes, golfing and nature preserves, according to its website.

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Fatal alligator attacks are rare in Florida, despite the creatures being found throughout the state. The FWC says there are an average of eight unprovoked attacks by alligators a year that require medical treatment. From 1948 to 2021, there have been 442 unprovoked alligator bite incidents in the state, 26 of them resulting in death. 

In June, a man looking for Frisbees in the water along a lakeshore in Largo, Florida, was found dead in a suspected alligator attack.

Contributing: Jordan Mendoza, USA TODAY