Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club

The Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club. Photo by Christian Boschult/

One person died after an estimated 11-foot alligator pulled them into a retention pond Friday at the Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club near Burgess, officials said. 

Michael Burstein, 75, died of drowning, the coroner's office said Monday.

Horry County Police spokeswoman Mikayla Moskov confirmed that HCPD's Environmental Services and Criminal Investigations divisions are investigating the death.

Moskov said Horry County Fire Rescue responded around 11:45 a.m. to the area of Excalaber Court, and "upon arrival, units determined that an alligator had taken hold of a neighbor and retreated into a nearby retention pond."

The victim was recovered from the pond, Moskov said. She added that a South Carolina Department of Natural Resources biologist and SCDNR-contracted alligator removal service determined that the 11-foot alligator should be euthanized.

In recent years, videos of alligators walking through the Myrtle Beach Golf and Yacht Club have received widespread attention, including local media coverage. 

Jason Repak lives in the neighborhood and over Mother’s Day weekend he photographed some of the alligators wrestling. He fears one of the gators in his photos was involved in Friday’s incident.

“They are 12 to 14-foot alligators,” he said. “They are big.”

Repak said a two-lane road runs between the pond where the incident happened and another retention pond behind his home. It’s not uncommon for alligators to be seen crossing that road as they move from pond to pond.

Repak said he’s always been cautious while walking his dogs.

“We’ve never gone anywhere close to them,” he said. “When we walk the dogs near that pond, we walk them in the median. We don’t walk them on that bank because you just don’t know where they’re lurking. You will never know where they’re lurking.”

Repak called the situation tragic.

“It’s absolutely horrible,” he said. “As far as I know, most neighbors have always treated the alligators with a healthy respect and almost like part of the community. … This is just a tragedy that nobody would have expected.”

Horry County Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said the coroner's office would release more information about this case on Monday.

Reach Christian by email or through Twitter and Facebook with the handle @ChrisHBoschult. 


I'm the editor of and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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