A doctor who dreamed of setting up her own hospital has been killed after she drove into a canal infested with alligators.
Dr Nita Kunnumpurath was driving to her residence in Naples, Florida on Friday when she lost control of the car and plunged into a body of water.
She was heading down the long stretch of highway known as Alligator Alley because of the reptiles that swim in the waterways alongside the road.
A couple who had been driving behind her witnessed the disaster and tried to rescue the 30-year-old from the bloodthirsty animals.
The man managed to pull the unconscious Dr Kunnumpurath from the water, but as he did so several alligators began rushing toward them, according to local reports.
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When his wife cried out in warning he was forced to leave the woman and save himself.
The police were called to the scene and they fired at the aquatic reptiles until they were able to retrieve Dr Kunnumpurath's body from the water.
Now the Indian-born woman's family have paid tribute to her from her home state of Kerala.
Dr Kunnumpurath was pursuing her post-graduate studies in surgery in Miami at the time of her death.
She had dreams of setting up her own hospital in Wayanad, north Kerala, which is where she spent her formative years.
Her father, Thomas Kunnumpurath, migrated to the US after he retired from his job in the Indian government.
Her siblings are also in the medical field, with her brother working as a pharmacist while her sister is a physiotherapist.
"Nita was a hard-working girl," said her uncle K Stephan, who was informed of her tragic death on Saturday night.
"She always nurtured a dream to set up a hospital in Wayanad to treat the poor. Charity was in her blood. We could not believe she is no more."
Her burial will be held in a church in Chicago this week, he said.
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