A woman in South Carolina was killed by an alligator while she was visiting a client for an in-home nail appointment. 58-year-old Cynthia Covert apparently spotted the alligator in a nearby pond on Tuesday, which grabbed her leg and pulled her underwater, according to NBC News.
Salons in the state had been closed, along with a number of public-facing businesses, in order to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Given the circumstances, Covert drove to the Kiawah Island home of Barbara Howell to give her a manicure. According to Det. Keith Herriot of the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Covert apparently became fascinated after spotting the alligator in a pond near Howell's yard. After the manicure, she went outside to take pictures of the animal.
"She saw the alligator in the pond and was fascinated," Herriot's report read. "Barbara stated she was cleaning up the porch when she noticed Covert down by the water. Barbara yelled to Covert that the alligator grabbed a deer the other day from that spot, and Covert replied 'I don't look like a deer,' and moved to touch the alligator." Not long after, she was pulled under the water.
After first responders arrived, it took several minutes for Covert's body to emerge, though the alligator's jaws were still clamped onto her leg. A lieutenant shot the gator, who then let go of the body. The cause of death was ruled as drowning and considered accidental. It also marks the third fatal alligator attack in the state since 2016.
South Carolina had previously made headlines in April when the state, along with Florida, opened some of their beaches to the public. Gov. Henry McMaster had already lifted a two-week-old executive order that closed all public access to beaches, which gave local jurisdictions the authority to enact their own rules. North Myrtle Beach City Council unanimously voted to reopen beaches in the tourist hotspot. The city's mayor, Marilyn Hatley, said that the decision was an appropriate measure and officials claimed that they were putting faith in people to act smartly.
"We're putting a lot of confidence in the people of our community but we have a lot of smart people and they've done a very good job so far and I'm trusting that they will listen and continue doing the good job that they have done," Hatley said, according to Myrtle Beach Online. "If they don't, we can always go back and close it but I don't think we'll have to do it."