Florida marks third deadly alligator attack

The bodies of two women, both apparently killed by alligators, were found less than a week after a similar death in a state that had seen just 17 confirmed fatal attacks by the animals in the previous 57 years.

A 23-year-old woman staying at a secluded cabin near a spring that feeds into the Lake George was attacked Sunday at a recreation area, said Marion County Fire-Rescue Capt. Joe Amigliore. The lake is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Gainesville.

"The people she was staying with came around and found her inside the gator's mouth," Amigliore said. "They jumped into the water and somehow pulled her out of the gator's mouth."

The woman, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her stepfather, who had tried to help her, was treated on the scene for a hand injury, said Amigliore.

In Pinellas County, the death of another woman whose body was found early Sunday in a canal 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of St. Petersburg also was blamed on an alligator, authorities said.

The woman's body had been in the water for about three days, authorities said.

She suffered animal bites that were consistent with an alligator, which "did play some part in the victim's death," according to a preliminary autopsy. The cause of death was pending and the medical examiner's final report will not be released for at least four weeks, the sheriff's office said, reports the AP.

I.L.