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(Reuters) - Police are hunting for an 8-foot (2.44-m) alligator that apparently killed a woman who was walking her dog near a lagoon in South Carolina, the county sheriff office said on Monday.

Authorities received a phone call on Monday morning that reported a woman was being attacked at a lagoon on Hilton Head Island, a popular tourist destination in the state.

Witnesses said the woman, who was not identified, had been walking her dog near the lagoon when the alligator attacked and pulled her underwater, the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The sheriff's office said they had recovered the woman's body. The dog did not appear to be harmed during the incident, the authorities said.

Alligators typically roll their victim beneath the water's surface until their prey stops breathing, before stashing the body to eat later.

Alligator attacks are uncommon in the United States, where the majority of animal-related deaths are caused by farm animals, hornets, wasps, bees and dogs, according to a study published in March.

But they are not unheard of. In June, a nearly 13-foot alligator in Florida killed a woman in an attack, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said at the time.

Two years ago, an alligator snatched a two-year-old boy from the edge of a lake at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida. His parents tried to save the child but were unable to free him.

(Reporting by Makini Brice, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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Reuters