Cause of death of alligator attack victim has been released

We now know a little more about 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 according to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Regional Coordinator Sam Chappelear. The Beaufort County coroner Ed Allen said "The cause of death was drowning as result of an alligator attack.” Allen declined to go into details about any other injuries Cline suffered.

However a report from the sheriff's office indicated that Ms. 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.

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

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.  He told police that 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.

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