'It took her': 911 call released after fatal alligator attack on 85-year-old woman

The alligator was taken from the scene. Credit: AP

A terrified caller told police "an alligator has a woman" as she watched her 85-year-old neighbour being attacked and dragged into the lake behind their Florida home.

Gloria Serge was killed by the alligator while walking her dog in Fort Pierce, a senior living community in St. Lucie county.

She was walking her dog on Monday afternoon beside a canal when the nearly 11-foot (3.3-metres) animal attacked her dog, St. Lucie Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

In the emergency call to the police, the neighbour said: "I just happened to look out my bedroom window and I saw her. She was walking her little dog and the gator grabbed the dog and she fell down and took her.

“The alligator’s got her. An alligator has a woman. It’s a huge gator. It's huge. He’s holding her in the lake. It’s too late. It’s too late.”

The police operator can then be heard asking if it had pulled her under. "Yes," the neighbour responded.

The caller then goes on to explain that they had tried to hold out a pole for the 85-year-old woman who had attempted to swim away from the alligator before going under the water completely.

Officials said the dog survived the attack, but its condition wasn't immediately known.

A trapper from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) later tracked down the gator and deputies helped get it on a truck. It was taken from the scene.

Authorities managed to capture the alligator

“FWC is in charge of the investigation, however we assisted with a helicopter and manpower,” Mascara said.

Fatal alligator attacks are rare, but they do happen.

In 2016, two-year-old Lane Graves was killed by alligator as he was vacationing with his family from Nebraska at Walt Disney World. Since then, hundreds of alligators have been relocated from the area.

According to the FWC, between 1948 and 2021 there have been 442 unprovoked alligator bites on humans, including 26 fatalities.

The chances of a person in Florida being injured in an unprovoked alligator attack is about one in 3.1 million, according to the commission.

Once on the endangered species list, the alligator has recovered to the point that wildlife officials estimate the Florida population at more than 1.3 million animals.

Officials warn people to be careful around bodies of water, as well as against feeding alligators.

“Although alligators can move quickly on land, they are not well adapted for capturing prey out of the water,” the agency's website said. “However, they can lunge at prey within a few feet of the shoreline.”

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