Gator in ocean draws crowds in NMB - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Gator in ocean draws crowds in NMB

North Myrlte Beach, SC -

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A mid-day visitor in North Myrtle Beach briefly put a damper on swimmers looking to cool off with a quick dip in the ocean.

Nicole Aiello, spokeswoman for the City of North Myrtle Beach, said an alligator was discovered in the waters off of 42nd Avenue North around 10 a.m. Friday. Throughout the day, the alligator ventured towards Main Street.

The gator traveled as far as 15th Avenue South before wildlife officials removed it from the water. Swimmers were temporarily called out of the ocean as the gator passed through the waters of North Myrtle Beach.

"Sure enough there was an alligator, kind of surprising finding the beach being shut down for an alligator," said Kenny Eddington who was visiting the beach with his family.  "You'd see him pop up a few places and then go on right along down the beach."

Lifeguards on jet skis traveled alongside the gator throughout the afternoon Friday, making sure no swimmers were in danger.

"This is a pretty rare occurrence," explained Aiello.  "Everyone that I've talked to who has worked with North Myrtle Beach really can't remember the last time we had an alligator on the beach, it doesn't happen often."

A person hired by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources captured the gator shortly before 5 p.m.

Copyright 2010 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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