ENGLEWOOD, Fla. — An elderly woman is dead after falling into a pond and being grabbed by two alligators Friday night at the Boca Royale Golf Course and Country Club.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office have said this is an active death investigation.
Neighbors we’ve spoken to say they are still shocked and asking themselves how something like this could have happened. An elderly woman — living close to the water — falling in and being grabbed by two alligators.
“Just a nice person and it’s a real shame. Everyone in the community knows her.”
That is a common sentiment being felt by people living at Boca Royale.
“There were search lights and they were looking around in the pond and, apparently, looking for what was going on,” said Kurt Kauffman, who lives at the gated community.
Kauffman lives on the same pond just behind the golf course where it happened.
“We came home from dinner around 9 o’clock and I live down there at the corner of the street from where the accident happened,” he says. “There were police cars and some of the neighbors had gathered and we heard that someone had fallen into the pond over there behind our house and had been attacked by alligators.”
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office says it happened just after 7:45 friday night. Witnesses say they saw two alligators near the woman, grabbing her while in the water. The woman was pronounced dead on the scene by authorities.
Meanwhile, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says a contracted alligator trapper was dispatched and removed two alligators. One measuring 8 feet 10 inches long and the other 7 feet 7 inches long.
“From time to time, if there’s an aggressive alligator in here, I know that there’s a few that have been removed,” said Kauffman.
The FWC says it’s unknown at this time if the alligators were involved in the incident. They also do not plan on removing any additional alligators from the area. As for the community, they are thinking of the woman and her family.
“She was a really nice woman and we’re very sorry and our condolences go out to her family.”
SCSO says detectives are working with FWC investigators and the medical examiner’s office to further the investigation.
The FWC are encouraging Florida residents to take precautionary measures to reduce the chances of encounters with alligators. They say seeing alligators becomes more frequent because of warmer weather outside. A couple of tips they offer include:
- Keeping your distance if see an alligator
- Swim only in designated swimming areas during daylight hours
- Alligators are most active between dusk and dawn
- Also keep pets on a leash and away from the water as they can resemble alligator’s natural prey
If you have any concerns about an alligator, you can call the FWC’s alligator hotline at (866)-FWC-GATOR. A contracted alligator trapper will be dispatched to resolve the situation.