Tragedy struck Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Florida as the body of a two-year-old boy was recovered some fifteen hours after being seized by an alligator on Tuesday. Authorities say that the animal likely drowned the boy. Five alligators have apparently been caught in the vicinity, and officials say bite marks can confirm if one of these creatures was the one who took the child.
Lane Graves was wading in approximately one foot of water in the Seven Seas Lagoon, where his family was attending an outdoor movie night, when he was pulled into the water by the alligator. His mother and father tried in vain to free him, but he was quickly pulled underwater. The parents immediately alerted the life guard, who was apparently too far away at the time to be of assistance. His father sustained lacerations from the struggle.
The family was visiting the resort from Omaha, Nebraska with the boy and his four-year-old sister.
No swimming signs are posted at the location, but there are no signs warning of alligators in the vicinity. The man-made lagoon covers approximately two hundred acres, and reaches a depth of fourteen feet in areas. The lagoon supplies the water for a system of canals that wind throughout the Disney complex.
The search began immediately for the boy, although the local sheriff feared the boy would not be recovered alive. His fears were realized on Wednesday afternoon as his body was recovered after an exhaustive search from six feet of water, approximately fifteen yards from the lagoon’s edge where he had been wading.
Disney World has closed the beaches at all of their resorts as a precautionary measure. This is the first incident of the kind that has occurred at Disney, who have been in operation for forty-five years.