Officials at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission say an alligator attacked and severely injured an elderly woman in south-west Florida.

Copeland, Florida - Officials say an alligator attacked and severely injured an elderly woman in south-west Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reports that 90-year-old Margaret Webb was walking near her Copeland home on Wednesday when the 2.4m alligator lunged out of a canal.

Officials say the animal tried to drag the woman into the water, but the woman was able to hang on long enough for a man driving by to stop and help her.

Officials say the woman, who lost part of her leg in the attack, was airlifted to a Fort Myers trauma centre.

The agency says a trapper was sent to the area to find the alligator.

If found, the reptile will be cut open in an attempt to retrieve and reattach the leg. - Sapa-AP