A 2 year old boy on vacation with his family was attacked and dragged into the waters of Seven Seas Lagoon by an alligator at Disney World this past Tuesday.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings confirms that there is no precedent to this event, but also affirms “we’re not leaving until we recover the child.”
According to Demings the child was wading along the water’s edge when taken by an alligator between four to seven feet. The father attempted to take the child back but was unsuccessful, prompting the family to alert lifeguards to the situation.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that there are no warning signs about alligators in the area, though there are signs that prohibit swimming in the lake. A baby pen was located 20 to 30 yards away from the lake, but according to Demings there was no one besides the child in the water at the time of the attack.
The child has not yet been found, though authorities have blocked off the area and sent a team of 50 members from the Reedy Creek Fire Rescue, Orange County, and Florida Fish and Wildlife to conduct searches. A helicopter has also been sent to aid the rescue efforts.
The search will continue, and officials have no plan to stop. “We’re putting every effort into locating the child and trapping this alligator,” says officer Chad Webber. “We’ll be here with them until there’s a resolution.”
Update: USA Today reports that the focus of the search has now been moved to the recovery of the child’s body. “There is no question the family will lose a 2-year-old boy,” Demings has stated.
While the child has not been found, 5 alligators have been removed from the lake and will be euthanized to determine whether or not they were involved in this tragedy. CNN additionally reports that all Disney beaches have been closed.
Update: The child’s body has been found and identified as belonging to 2 year old Lane Graves last Wednesday afternoon. Parents Matt and Melissa Graves express their devastation in a statement, according to ABC News:
“Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son. We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time. To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”
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