S.C. golfer loses arm in alligator attack
BEAUFORT -- Part of a man's arm was bitten off by an alligator as he leaned to retrieve his golf ball at a private South Carolina course, officials said Friday.The man, in his 70s, was bitten by a 10-foot alligator on Thursday afternoon at Ocean Creek Golf Course in Beaufort County. His name has not been released.The man, who is reportedly the father of a Fripp Island property owner, was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina, which declined Friday to provide information on the man's condition or treatment without his identity.Course general manager Stuart Mitchell also declined to give the man's name."It's just a very, very sad situation and we wish him the very best," Mitchell said, adding that the area is a wildlife preserve with a number of alligators, deer and other animals.Multiple media outlets report that the man was picking up his ball when an alligator pulled him into a nearby pond, ripping off his arm in the struggle.The man's golf partners were able to free him. Workers from Tracks Wildlife Control in Beaufort killed the animal and removed the man's arm, which was stored in a cooler in the hopes of reattaching it.Joe Maffo, the owner of a South Carolina business specializing in alligator removal, told The Beaufort Gazette that the attack could have been prompted by several factors."It could have been a mother protecting her brood, this alligator may have been fed before by people or it could have been a dominance thing and the alligator felt he was trespassing," said Maffo, owner of Critter Management. "These kinds of attacks are very, very unusual and very, very unfortunate."According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, there have been 10 confirmed alligator attacks in South Carolina in the past 25 years. Between 100,000 and 200,000 American alligators live along the state's coast.Two years ago, a 59-year-old man's arm was bitten off by an alligator as he snorkeled in Lake Moultrie. Doctors were able to reattach Bill Hedden's arm after he was bitten by an 11-foot alligator in September 2007.