Dramatic moment seven-foot long alligator is captured on popular tourist beach after it was spotted swimming in the Atlantic Ocean

  • The beaches along Georgia’s coast in the US were temporarily closed off
  • Clip shows the moment giant reptile is lured out of the water and snared
  • Alligators typically found in freshwater such as ponds, rivers and streams

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This video shows the moment a seven-foot long alligator was captured after it was spotted swimming near a popular tourist beach. The sands along Georgia’s coast in the US were temporarily closed off after the large alligator was seen swimming in the Atlantic Ocean near Savannah. Lifeguards on personal watercrafts ran patterns around the gator, pushing him toward the shore, before he was eventually reeled in by wildlife experts as about 100 onlookers cheered, Tybee Island Fire Chief Ashely Fields said.

‘It was a relief for everybody,’ he said by phone. ‘People were very happy to get back in the water.’

It was a careful procedure to reel in the alligator after it was spotted swimming near a popular tourist beach

As one lifeguard prepares to assist the wildlife expert, he gets his feet either side of the giant reptile

Almost there: The catcher then sits down on top of the alligator and starts to tie rope around its mouth

The reptile was caught about 2.30pm yesterday (Friday) and relocated to the Savannah River, Fields added. The animal was spotted early Friday morning in the water off the beaches on the south end of Tybee Island. Fields said it stayed about 20 to 30 feet away from the beach. All beaches were then closed. An alligator swimming in the ocean off Tybee Island ‘is a very rare occurrence,’ Fields said, adding that 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.

The response team used fishing rods to try and lure in the alligator, while lifeguards used watercrafts to nudge the animal to the beach

The animal was spotted early Friday morning in the water off the beaches on the south end of Tybee Island

‘He might have come out of the Savannah River channel is the only thing I could figure, but I wouldn’t bet money on that,’ Fields said. Though 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, Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman said. Alligators in the South are typically found in freshwater 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, the mayor said.

Seeing an alligator swimming in the ocean where it was has been described as ‘very rare’ by officials

Around 100 onlookers cheers at the moment the alligator was restrained and then taken away to a river

There are an estimated 200,000 alligators in Georgia, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. They’re typically found south of what’s known as the ‘fall line’ a line that connects the cities of Columbus, Macon and Augusta. In Florida, beaches at Walt Disney World resorts remained closed Friday after an alligator killed a two-year-old Nebraska boy after dragging him from shallow water in a lake at a Disney hotel Tuesday.

‘Even if Disney World wouldn’t have happened, we still would have closed the beach just to be safe and take care of people,’ Fields added.

Tybee Island, once known as Savannah Beach, is a popular tourist destination for people from across the nation.

With about 3,000 full-time residents, its population swells to several times that number during weekends in the summer season, Buelterman said.

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