The body of a 2-year-old boy who was dragged into the water by an alligator near Disney’s upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa has been found, authorities said.
The boy was attacked Tuesday night as he waded in shallow water at the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort.
Demings identified the boy as Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska.
The search team grew to 50 people Wednesday as trappers and divers searched Disney’s network of man-made canals, ponds and lakes. At least five other alligators were caught and cut open before they found the killer.
Deputies were using sonar to search the Seven Seas Lagoon man made lake, the Orlando Sentinel reports. A helicopter and 10-person dive team will also assist, according to Williamson.
The family of five from Nebraska was on vacation and wading in the Seven Seas Lagoon about 9:20 p.m. Tuesday when the attack happened in an area where “no swimming” signs were posted, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told a news conference earlier in the morning. The father tried to rescue his son but was unsuccessful, Demings said.
The alligator was estimated to be 4 to 7 feet long, but its exact size was not known, Demings said. The father suffered cuts and lacerations.
The beach area is part of the luxury Grand Floridian resort, across the lake from Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park.
Nick Wiley with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation said it’s rare for people to be attacked by alligators, but he added that the creatures move around. He said four alligators were taken from the water overnight, but officials found no evidence they were involved. He said the alligators have to be euthanized before they are analyzed.
Williamson said the boy was at the edge of the water, probably about a foot or two into the water, when the alligator attacked. The water was dark Tuesday night as searchers looked for the boy, Williamson said. They also used a sonar boat.
Williamson said Disney’s boats were the first ones in the water.
Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahaler said everyone at the resort was devastated by what happened and Disney is helping the family.
When asked if Disney was aware of alligators on the property, Wahaler advised there were signs that said “no swimming.”
Williamson brushed aside reporters’ questions about the odds of rescuing the child at this point. “Right now, hopefully, we’re searching for a little boy to bring the family some comfort,” he said.
The Seven Seas Lagoon spans 172 acres and connects to a series of canals that wind through the entire Disney property. It is unknown how many alligators live in it.
“If you look on a map you’ll see it’s a pretty extensive body of water,” Wiley said of the lake being searched.
The attack comes amid what was already a tragic week in the Orlando area. On Sunday, a gunman opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, leaving 49 victims dead in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.