A 47-year-old man who had gone to retrieve frisbees from a lake in John S. Taylor Park in Florida was later found dead with one of his arms ripped off in a possible alligator attack. The victim has been identified as Sean Thomas McGuinness. His body was discovered by a person who was walking their dog along the lake shoreline on Tuesday morning.

According to the Largo Police Department, an alligator is believed to be involved in the death of the man who had ventured into the lake waters. However, the medical examiner is yet to determine a cause of death.

McGuinness used to make a living by selling frisbees to people who played disc golf at a course near the lake. Paul Cozzie, director of Parks and Conservation Resources in Pinellas County, in a telephone interview told the New York Times that he "died as a result of an alligator attack."

"It appears that he went in before the park opened — unfortunately not a good time to be in any lake, but especially during alligator mating season," he added. Park rangers had seen the man looking for frisbees in April as well and had warned him against going into the lake. The rangers had then told him that he would be banned if he tried to do so ever again, added the report.

In a similar incident reported from Florida in 2017, a man was attacked by an alligator while diving for golf balls at a course in Charlotte County. The man was bitten on his left arm by the reptile. Fortunately, he somehow managed to get himself out of the lake without any other life-threatening injuries.

Alligator attacks are a common occurrence in Florida. The state is famous for its alligators and every year the huge creatures don't fail to hit headlines. They are, in fact, a known hazard at many golf courses in the state.

Alligators walked the Earth some 37 million years ago, making them one of the oldest species to inhabit our planet. An average adult weighs 360kg, but larger species such as the Humpback may reach 450kg.

Alligator Florida
An allligator THIERRY ZOCCOLAN / GettyImages