An alligator pictured earlier this year close to the resort where Cassandra Cline was killed
A 45-year-old woman has been killed in an alligator attack on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.
Police responded to reports of a woman being attacked in a resort lagoon on Monday morning.
The victim, named as local resident Cassandra Cline, died at the scene after being pulled from the water.
Witnesses said she was attacked after trying to protect her pet dog from the 8ft (2.4m) alligator. The dog was reportedly uninjured in the incident.
The local sheriff’s department say officers killed the animal thought to be responsible.
The Sea Pines resort where the woman lived and was attacked said in a statement it was “extremely saddened by the news”.
Earlier this year a 47-year-old dog walker was killed in a similar alligator attack in Florida.
Monday’s incident would be the first confirmed fatal attack by an alligator in South Carolina for decades, local officials told ABC News.