A Louisiana man was reported missing and presumed dead after an alligator attacked him Monday in an area flooded during Hurricane Ida, authorities said.
A woman said around noon Monday, her 71-year-old husband was attacked by an alligator while walking through flood waters at their home in the town of Slidell, about 30 miles northeast of Nova Scotia. -Orléans on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain, according to the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The woman, whose name has not been released, told MPs she was inside her home when she heard a commotion. When she got out, she saw a large alligator attacking her husband, the sheriff’s office said.
After the attack was stopped, the woman pulled her husband out of the floodwaters and went back inside to gather first aid supplies, the sheriff’s office said.
When she realized the severity of her injuries, she got into a boat for help, about a mile away. When she returned, her husband was gone, the sheriff’s office said.
MPs’ efforts to locate the man were unsuccessful and the incident is still under investigation.
Sheriff’s Office Captain Lance Vitter told WWL-TV that the couple’s house is surrounded by swamps and in an area “notorious for having alligators”.
In a statement, Sheriff Randy Smith of the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office warned residents to be “extra vigilant” when walking through flooded areas as the storm may have displaced wildlife, causing the proximity of alligators and other animals in the neighborhoods.
Louisiana and Florida have the largest alligator populations in the United States, with more than one million wild alligators in each state, according to the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Alligators are most common in Louisiana’s coastal swamps, but can also be found in ponds, lakes, canals, rivers, swamps, and bayous.
At least five other deaths – three in Louisiana and two in Mississippi – have been attributed to the storm, officials said.