2-year-old boy killed by alligator at Disney World in Florida
The dead body of a 2-year-old boy who was snatched off a beach by an alligator and dragged underwater at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida, has been recovered.
Divers found the body on Wednesday “completely intact,” 16 hours after police first got the call that a reptile had taken the boy from the water’s edge at Seven Seas Lagoon.
Officials identified the toddler as Lane Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska. The boy was discovered about six feet beneath the surface of the massive, man-made lagoon, not far from the area where he was attacked the previous night.
Lane’s parents watched Tuesday night as the alligator grabbed their son in the shallows of the lake and dragged him deeper into the water, officials said.
“Of course the family was distraught, but also I believe somewhat relieved that his body was found intact,” Sheriff Jerry Demings told a news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
While an autopsy still has to be completed, the sheriff said it is likely the boy drowned. The boy’s father desperately tried to fight off the gator, suffering lacerations on a hand, but he could not save his son.
No other alligator attacks have been reported on the man-made lake, according to Demings. A Disney representative said it would “thoroughly review the situation for the future.”
Divers with the sheriff’s office found the body using sonar technology.
“There are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss,” George A. Kalogridi, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement. “We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help them during this difficult time.
Victim advocates and grief counselors were beside the family throughout the night. Their grief was inconceivable, said sheriff’s office spokesman Jeff Williamson. “They are very shaken up, extremely shaken up,” he told reporters. “Imagine if it were you? What would you be?”