A man visiting a popular city park in Florida was killed in a suspected alligator attack, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The victim was a 47-year-old man and it happened at John S. Taylor Park in the Pinellas County city of Largo, about 20 miles east of Tampa.
Investigators have not released the name of the man, whose body was discovered on Tuesday, May 31.
“A contracted nuisance alligator trapper is working to remove a nearby alligator and efforts will be made to determine if it was involved in this situation,” state officials said.
John S. Taylor Park is 156 acres and includes a 53-acre freshwater lake, according to Pinellas County Parks & Preserves.
Largo police officials say the initial call about the incident came around 8 a.m.
“Detectives believe the victim was looking for frisbees in the water and a gator was involved,” the Largo Police Department said in a news release.
“There are posted signs of no swimming in the lake. … Residents and visitors are reminded that you should not go swimming or near the lake at any time.”
The case remains under investigation.
Florida averages “eight unprovoked alligator bites per year,” according to a 2021 report by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. “From 1948 to 2021, 442 unprovoked bite incidents have occurred in Florida, 26 of these bites resulted in human fatalities,” the state reports.
There are an estimated 1.3 million alligators in Florida and “they are found in freshwater lakes, ponds, swamps and slow-moving rivers in all 67 counties in Florida,” the commission says.