6:30 a.m. update: The search continues for a 2-year-old boy who was grabbed by an alligator at the Seven Seas Lagoon near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news conference Wednesday morning that the 2-year-old was believed to be playing near the foot of the water when the gator attacked. There was a lifeguard on duty but he was not able to get to the boy in time.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said they have already pulled out and analyzed four alligators from the lagoon, but none were suspected to have dragged the boy underwater.
“It’s very rare to be attacked by alligators in Florida,” said an FWC official.
The Sheriff’s Office said that they are working with the FWC to bring in more personel for their search efforts.
“Right now, we’re just trying to find the young boy,” an Orange County Sheriff’s Office official said.
Divers, helicopter units and sonar boats will be brought to the lake today to search extensively in the dense, murky waters.
“I’m optimistic that we will have success in finding the child,” said an FWC official.
A toddler was dragged into the water by an alligator near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
The 2-year-old boy was dragged into the Seven Seas Lagoon about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, authorities said.
“We have an excess of 50 law enforcement personnel who are out at the scene, two marine units out at the scene,” Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a news conference.
Demings said a 911 call around 9:16 p.m. reported that the child, a guest at the Disney hotel on vacation from Nebraska with his parents and two siblings, a 4-year-old and an 18-year-old, had been attacked by an alligator.
Demings said there was no security footage of the incident at this time, but witnesses have provided detailed descriptions of the incident. The family was out on the beach area at the lake’s edge, with the father watching nearby as the toddler played in around one foot of water.
The alligator came up and attacked the child. Demings said the father struggled to try and get his son and was not successful, sustaining minor scratches to his hands in the effort.
The family, who arrived at the resort on June 12, alerted a nearby lifeguard who was in the area, but they were unable to rescue the child.
Authorities are unsure how large the alligator is, but witness reports range between four and seven feet in length.
Deputies are searching the waters for the toddler.
“As a father, as a grandfather, we’re going to hope for the best in these circumstances,” Demings said. “But based upon my 35 years of law enforcement experience, we know that we have some challenges ahead at this time.
“We’ll be out through the night continuing this search until we can have a successful resolution.”
Demings said there were signs posted around the lagoon that said the area was not for recreational swimming. There were no other people in the water at the time, he said.
FWC officer Chad Weber said his office was not aware of any recent alligator sightings in the man-made lake, which is bordered by three resorts in the Walt Disney World entertainment complex.
“We don’t have any reports, we haven’t checked in to see if we have any nuisance alligator reports in that area,” he said.
“We’re pulling extra resources and conducting a parallel investigation [with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office]. We’re putting every effort into locating the child and trapping the alligator; a trapper is on the water right now .
“We’ll be here with them til there’s a resolution.”
Walt Disney World director of communications Jacquee Wahler said everyone at the resort was “devastated by this tragic accident.”
Demings said Disney is cooperating fully with the investigation.