Alligator drags child into water near Disney World resort, officials say

Carla Harmon
June 15, 2016

Another tragedy has punctured the Orlando community, this time after an alligator snatched a 2-year-old boy from the shore of a lagoon at Disney World's Grand Floridian resort Tuesday night.

"We know that this is a recovery effort at this point", Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told a news conference, about 15 hours after the child was attacked by the gator.

"We're doing our best to deal with all of the situations that we have going on here, but our staff is very resilient and tonight they are very focused on assisting this family", Demings said.

Emergency services responded and there was at least 50 law enforcement personnel searching the lake, hampered by darkness. The alligator is between 4 and 7 feet long, Demings said, adding he's unsure of its exact size. When asked if Disney was aware of alligators on the property, Wahaler pointed out that there are signs posted throughout the area that says "no swimming".

Attacks of this kind are very rare and, according to Demings, here haven't been any other alligator attacks reported in the area. "Our thoughts are with the family and we are helping the family", a spokeswoman said.

Experienced alligator trappers, sheriff's department divers, and sonar equipment are being used to search a network of man-made canals, ponds and lakes where the gator may have taken the boy.

Searchers have killed five alligators in the search area, but they believe none of them is the one that grabbed the child.

Officials gather near a lagoon at Disney World's upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, in Orlando, Florida, on June 14, 2016, after an alligator dragged a two-year-old boy into the water and disappeared.

Florida Fish and Wildlife reported one other alligator bite happening in 2016 in a report last updated in April.

After one of the most tragic weeks in Orlando, a toddler has been attacked by an alligator near the "happiest place on earth". "The parents diligently tried to get the child", Demings said.

He says the boy's family "will no question lose a 2-year-old child".

The father of the boy rushed into the water to try to save his son, according to Orange County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jeff Williamson.

A lifeguard nearby was alerted to the ordeal.

Four alligators had been captured and euthanized, but none had shown evidence of being involved in the attack. "We'll be here with them until there's a resolution".

Twenty-two people have been killed by alligators in Florida since 1948, they say.

A day before the rampage, a man shot singer Christina Grimmie as she was signing autographs following a concert.

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