A woman who was visiting a client for an in-home nail appointment during lockdown in South Carolina was attacked and killed by an alligator in South Carolina, according to a police report released Tuesday.
Cynthia Covert, 58, drowned Friday after an alligator repeatedly pulled her into a pond on Kiawah Island, according to a report from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. Her death has been ruled an accident, according to paralegal and public information officer Karli Maratea.
"This unfortunate tragedy reminds citizens to be alert and cautious around our Lowcountry wildlife," Maratea said. "The Sheriff’s Office urges the public to enjoy the outdoors safely and responsibly."
Barbara Howell said Covert came to her home to do her nails with a glass of wine and was "acting strange," according to the narrative report. Although Gov. Henry McMaster lifted a mandatory stay-home order May 4, South Carolina's beauty salons must remain closed for now.
Covert saw the alligator when she was doing Howell's nails on the porch and when she was finished, she left the porch to take pictures.
Howell said she screamed to Covert that the alligator had grabbed a deer from that spot and Covert replied "I don't look like a deer" and tried to touch the animal. The alligator grabbed Covert by the leg and started to pull her into the water.
Howell's husband, William, told police he heard his wife yelling, went to the porch, and ran down the steps as the gator lunged at Covert. Howell said he and a neighbor, Michael Clawson, threw a rope to Covert and she grabbed it while standing waist deep in the water.
"I guess I won't do this again," Covert said, in a very calm voice, according to the witness.
As the pair tried to pull her from the water, the alligator stared to roll and Covert lost her grip on the rope. Clawson told police the alligator took her underwater and she released the rope.
When sheriff's deputies and the fire department arrived, they saw no movement on the pond, according to the report. Ten or 15 minutes later, Covert's body surfaced.
The alligator pulled her back underwater, but resurfaced a few moments later and an officer was able to shoot it. Police retrieved the body, which had severe wounds to the left leg.
Covert was the third person killed by an alligator in South Carolina in the past four years. Before those attacks, South Carolina had never recorded a person killed by an alligator.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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