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Woman killed in apparent encounter with alligator on Kiawah Island, authorities say

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A woman was killed Friday in an apparent encounter with an alligator on Kiawah Island, according to authorities. 

The Charleston County Coroner's Office has identified the woman as 58-year-old Cynthia Covert. An autopsy is expected to be completed on Monday.

Deputies were called shortly before 5 p.m. to a pond near Salt Cedar Lane for a report of "an alligator encounter with an adult female," said Capt. Roger Antonio, a spokesman for the Charleston County Sheriff's Office. 

"As a result, the female has died," Antonio said. "A deputy on scene dispatched and retrieved the alligator." 

The S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Charleston County Coroner's Office also responded, the captain said. 

What happened is under investigation. Further information was not available on Friday night.

Deaths attributed to alligators have been relatively rare in South Carolina, according to official records. 

The death of a 90-year-old woman in July 2016 in a pond outside a West Ashley extended care facility was the first alligator-related fatality in the state, according to a statement at the time by the Department of Natural Resources. 

In August 2018, South Carolina saw its second fatal alligator attack in two years, when a 45-year-old woman was killed at a resort community on Hilton Head Island.

Still, authorities stressed fatal attacks are rare. 

There had been 20 recorded alligator incident in the Palmetto State since 1976, DNR said at the time of the 2018 attack. In that time, just the 2016 and 2018 attacks were fatal. 

An updated number of alligator incidents was not available Friday night. 

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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