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Searchers find body of woman attacked by gator in Florida

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DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — State wildlife searchers located the body of a woman believed to have been killed during an alligator attack in South Florida.

The body of 47-year-old Shizuka Matsuki was found in a lake in Davie, Florida, officials with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said late Friday.

A witness told authorities he saw the woman walking two dogs Friday and then noticed the dogs alone, barking near the water. One of the dogs had a fresh injury, a gash on its side.

Officials captured and killed an alligator later Friday and found evidence during a necropsy of the animal that it had bitten Matsuki.

"We would like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Ms. Matsuki," conservation commission spokesman Rob Klepper said in a statement.

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Alligators are opportunistic feeders that will eat what is readily available and easily overpowered. Feeding wild alligators is illegal because they could lose their fear of humans.

Fatal attacks on humans remain rare, however. According to the wildlife commission, the likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured during an unprovoked alligator incident in Florida is roughly only 1 in 3.2 million.

From 1948 to 2017, the commission has documented 401 people bitten by alligators, including 24 fatalities. The most recent death occurred in 2016, when a 2-year-old boy playing near the water's edge at a Walt Disney World resort was killed.

The park where Matsuki disappeared Friday is near the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, a major Miami-area tourist and entertainment attraction.

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