In “The Happiest Place On Earth,” no one expects to witness horror happening right before their very eyes. So when tragedy struck a few days ago at a Disney resort in Orlando, everyone was left stupefied.
At 9:15 PM last Tuesday at the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, a two-year-old boy Lane Graves was attacked by an alligator in front of his family.
According to a Mama Mia report, the family, including Lane’s four-year-old sister, were sitting near the edge of the man-made Seven Seas Lagoon when an alligator snatched the toddler and dragged him into the deep water.
The boy’s father Matt Graves reportedly wrestled his son from the reptile’s jaw but was not successful, said Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings in a news conference.
In an Orlando Sentinel report, a man who witnessed the incident said he heard the commotion unfold.
“I heard somebody screaming and yelling. I thought someone got in a fight,” said Bil Wilson. “I looked over and here comes one of the lifeguards…The mother was there and she was frantic, running up and down looking.”
At least 60 emergency service workers searched for the toddler, but after 15 hours, the operation switched to a recovery effort.
“It was police divers with sonar technology that ultimately located his remains in the murky water at around 3:30pm Thursday, Orlando time,” said the same report.
Although autopsy reports are yet to be released, there is little question that the body the police recovered was Lane Graves’, as his remains were “intact.”
The alligator reportedly measures between 4 and 7 feet (1.2 and 2 meters) long.
Wildlife and marine officials were drafted into the search, which ran through the night. “We’re putting every effort into locating the child and trapping this alligator,” Florida Fish and Wildlife Officer Chad Weber told reporters.
Meanwhile, in a statement given on behalf of Walt Disney World Resort, a spokesperson said everyone was devastated by the tragic accident. “Our thoughts are with the family and we are helping the family,” she said.
Although the theme park remains open, Disney has reportedly closed all marinas and recreational areas following the attack.
Florida is infamous for its wildlife, but according to local authorities, this kinds of attacks are rare.
Only two fatal incidents have been reported in the state since 2007, and this is the first in Disney World’s 45-year history.
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