Report: Multiple witnesses saw alligator lunge at 75-year-old man in Myrtle Beach area attack
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The Horry County Coroner’s Office has identified the man who was killed in an alligator attack in the Myrtle Beach area.
Deputy Coroner Michelle McSpadden said 75-year-old Michael Burstein from the Myrtle Beach area drowned during the attack.
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Horry County Fire Rescue responded to a water rescue call on Friday in the area of Excalaber Court in the Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club.
When crews arrived on the scene, they determined that an alligator had taken hold of Burstein and retreated into a nearby retention pond.
Multiple witnesses told responding crews they saw the victim standing at the water’s edge of the community pond when the alligator lunged from the water and attacked, dragging Burstein under.
The SCDNR biologist and an SCDNR-contracted alligator removal service determined that the alligator should be humanely euthanized on site.
Horry County police and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources are investigating the case.
WMBF reached out to the Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club for a statement, but they have yet to respond.
WMBF did speak with Russel Cavender, the owner of the Snake Chaser, a professional nuisance wildlife and reptile removal service.
“These things that happen, especially what happened here just recently, are extremely rare,” said Cavender. “I think there’s less than a handful of people that have ever been attacked in South Carolina in 50 years. So it’s extremely rare. The problem that we had is over development. These animals don’t have a place to go so they wind up in retention ponds and in lakes and streams that border around where people live and they have nowhere else to go so it’s one of those things. We have to learn how to cohabitate with them.”
It’s important to leave alligators alone, don’t swim in areas where there are a lot of alligators, keep pets out of the water and never feed an alligator.
“The number one thing is not to feed them and a fed alligator is not only a dead alligator, but that alligator becomes complacent with people and think people are a source of food. So I don’t know if this alligator was fed or not, but obviously, he wasn’t afraid of people and 99.99% of the time alligators are terrified of people. No matter how big they are,” Cavendar said.
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