Toddler dragged into water by gator at Disney World; still missing

ORLANDO, Fla. (WIAT) — An hours-long search is underway for a toddler after the two-year-old boy was dragged into the water at a Disney resort property.

The Orange County Sheriff said it happened around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort and has not been recovered as of an early Wednesday morning press conference.

He said the alligator attacked while the family was relaxing on a beach area at the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon. The child was wading in the water about a foot from the shore line when he was attacked. He said the father ran into the water and tried wrestle his son from the mouth of the gator, but could not. He believes the mother may have also gotten into the water to try and save the boy. They alerted a nearby life guard, but all efforts were unsuccessful.

Tuesday night, helicopters searched the Seven Seas Lagoon for the boy. At the press conference, about three and a half to four hours into the search, the sheriff said the child had not yet been located.

“We’re not leaving until the boy is found,” the sheriff said.

The child’s family is visiting from Nebraska, and arrived at the park on June 12, officials said. 50 law enforcement personnel are currently searching the lake, in addition to two marine patrol units, officials said.

“Everyone here at the Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the family. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement,” said a spokesperson for Disney.

The Orange County Sheriff and the Florida Fish Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) are investigating.

“We’re putting every effort into locating this child and trapping this alligator,” FWC officer Chad Webber said.

 

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