An alligator grabbed a 2-year-old boy and dragged him into a lagoon at a Disney hotel near Orlando as his father desperately tried to save him, CNN And Exclusives reports.
The incident occurred outside the hotel on a sandy waterfront area near the Seven Seas Lagoon.
Search for the toddler has intensified since the attack on Tuesday night. “We’re not leaving until we recover the child,” Orange County’s Sheriff Jerry Demingssaid
According to Demings, the child was “wading just in the water along the lake’s edge at the time that the alligator attacked”.
Demings said that the family of four – parents, the boy and his 4-year-old sister – is on vacation from Nebraska.
“The father actually went into the water to wrestle his son from the grips of the alligator” but was unsuccessful after sustaining minor scratches on his hand, he said.
Eyewitnesses said that the family was on the beach and the 4-year-old was in a play pen about 20 to 30 yards from the water on the sand.
Demings said that there are “No Swimming” signs at the lagoon and no one else was in the water at the time of the attack besides the child.
He also pointed out that the body of water was not for recreational swimming, adding that “it is not uncommon for alligators to be in bodies of water”.
The vice president of the Walt Disney World Resort Jacquee Wahler said:
“Everyone here at the Walt Disney 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.”