August 20, 2010

Alligator in the Ocean Surf Near Carolina Beach Pier Creates Onlookers

This afternoon, an alligator was swimming in the surf just north of the Carolina Beach Pier. Carolina Beach Police and wildlife specialist were attempting to capture the gator but as of 3:00 they were unsuccessful. At that time, the gator had not been seen for about an hour.

I spoke with a lifeguard who told me that alligator was approximately 6 feet in length. However, a gentlemen nearby told me that he thought it was closer to 8 to 9 feet. He was retired military and stated that in all his years of coming to the beach, he had never seen anything like it. A few times, the gator came to shore but quickly turned around and headed back into the wave breaks. The gentlemen commented that the gator did not look healthy and may have been in the ocean for some time now.

He stated that officials were attempting to snag they alligator using a weighted hook but were so far unsuccessful. Additionally, they had a alligator transport tube ready to go in case they were able to bring it to shore.

Lifeguards and law enforcement officials were warning swimmers about the hazard and the vast majority of the people were wisely staying out of the water. I did see a few people wading up to their their knees but there were not many. Here are a few pictures from today's afternoon search:
(most beachgoers are heading the warnings)
(This little pup gave the media a break from scanning the ocean)

(Lifeguards were out in full force)

(Unfortunately, an empty transport tube)
Although sightings of alligators swimming in the ocean is quite rare, there was another one captured in Hilton Head, SC just last month. That one was 9 foot in length.
[Edit at 5:30: WECT news has some excellent video footage of the alligator in the surf. Click here to watch]
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