Allidator

A 71-year-old Slidell-area man was killed apparently by an alligator on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Gerald Herbert, The AP)

SLIDELL, La. - The St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office was investigating a report of a fatal alligator attack in the Slidell area, St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office said.

A 71-year-old man was killed apparently by an alligator on Avery Road in Avery Estates on Monday afternoon.

The man had gone downstairs from his raised home near the Southeast Louisiana Wildlife Refuge to check on something in his shed when his wife, in her 60s, heard a splash, said Captain Lance Vitter, a spokesman for St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office.

She was afraid he had fallen into the water which was rising in the marsh around the area. Instead she saw her husband being attacked by an alligator who "had him in a death roll," Vitter said.

She tried to help him and went to find something to act as a tourniquet to help him but when she returned she said the alligator had ripped off his arm and he was unconscious. She got into a pirogue and paddled to higher ground where she was able to get in touch with the sheriff's office.

Neither her phone nor 911 was working because of the storm.

When deputies arrived there was no sign of the man and his body has not been recovered, Vitter said.

Investigators say that evidence at the scene backs up the woman's story: arterial blood was found in one spot. Deputies in flatboats searched for the body as the high water began to recede, but the current was still strong making it difficult to know where the body may have ended up. Efforts to find the body were not successful on Monday.

The woman told deputies they had seen a number of 7-foot alligators in the area.

Names are being withheld pending notification of the man's family and the St. Tammany Parish coroner's office has not been involved because no body has been recovered.

The sheriff’s office is warning residents to be on guard while walking in flooded areas as wildlife — including gators, black bears, poisonous snakes and feral hogs — may have been displaced during Ida and moved closer to neighborhoods.

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