ATLANTA – The Latest on a large alligator spotted in the water off the beaches on the south end of Tybee Island, a popular tourist spot near Savannah in southeast Georgia. (all times local):
Authorities say a large alligator spotted in the Atlantic Ocean along the Georgia coast near Savannah has been captured.
Tybee Island Fire Chief Ashely Fields says the alligator, estimated to be 8 to 10 feet long, was caught about 2:30 p.m. Friday and relocated to the Savannah River. Fields says lifeguards on personal watercrafts ran patterns around the gator, pushing him toward the shore before he was eventually reeled in as about 100 onlookers cheered.
The gator was spotted early Friday morning in the water off the beaches on the south end of Tybee Island. Fields says the gator stayed about 20 to 30 feet away from the beach. All beaches were then closed.
Fields says the beaches have been reopened.
Tybee Island officials say an alligator swimming in the ocean off Tybee Island "is a very rare occurrence" after a large gator was spotted in the water near Savannah.
Fire Chief Ashely Fields says he's talked to people who have been around the island for 30 to 40 years who had never seen one off Tybee's beach.
Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman says even though it's rare, alligator sightings in the ocean have led to beaches being closed elsewhere in the Southeast, so it's not unprecedented to find one in the Atlantic.
The mayor says gators in the South are typically found in fresh water such as ponds, rivers, streams and swamps, but they're able to swim through saltwater in the ocean to get from one place to another.
Authorities have closed some beaches along the Georgia coast as a precaution after a large alligator was spotted near Savannah.
Tybee Island officials said in a statement that the gator, estimated to be 8 feet to 10 feet long, was spotted early Friday morning in the water off the beaches on the south end of Tybee Island.
They said all beaches were then closed from the Parker Pier to the back river.
Authorities said animal control officers, the Tybee Island fire chief and a professional trapper were working to capture the animal so that it can be removed.
In Florida, beaches at Walt Disney World resorts remained closed Friday after an alligator killed a 2-year-old Nebraska boy after dragging him from shallow water in a lake at a Disney hotel Tuesday.