An alligator grabbed a two-year-old boy near a Walt Disney World resort hotel in Orlando, Florida, on Tuesday night. The boy is now believed to be dead because it has been 15 hours since the attack and rescue officials are yet to recover the body.
It was learnt that the boy’s family was at movie night outdoors at the Grand Floridian resort when around 9 p.m. the boy waded into about a foot of water in a lagoon. Witnesses, including the boy’s horrified parents, tried to save him. His father jumped in and tried to pry the gator’s mouth open. His mother jumped in, too.
But it was too late. The child was dragged underwater in the Seven Seas Lagoon, witnesses said.
The lagoon is connected to a series of canals that feed into large bodies of water, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Nick Wiley.
CNN reports that a search began for the boy immediately, with boats from Disney searching along with law enforcement.
By midmorning Wednesday, Disney had closed all beaches in its resort area “out of an abundance of caution” following the attack, a Disney representative said.
Wiley said the child was on the edge of the lagoon when the alligator attacked, according to the boy’s family. He cautioned that the investigation is still in an early stage and officials need to interview at least two other families who may have witnessed the attack.