Hours after the Tuesday night attack, the toddler was still missing despite a frantic overnight search to find him.
The child was “wading just in the water along the lake’s edge at the time that the alligator attacked,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
The family of four is on vacation from Nebraska, Demings said. They arrived Sunday.
They watched as the alligator attacked the toddler at the Seven Seas Lagoon.
“The father actually went into the water to wrestle his son from the grips of the alligator,” he said. The father suffered minor scratches on his hand, but was unsuccessful in getting his son back.
“The sad reality of it is it’s been several hours and we’re not likely going to recover a live body,” Demings said.
He said there is no record of similar incidents in this particular area.
“Everyone here at the Walt Disney Resort is devastated by this tragic accident,” said Jacquee Wahler, the vice president of the Walt Disney World Resort .
“Our thoughts are with the family. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement.”
Demings said no reports of nuisance alligators have come in the region recently. The alligator is between 4 and 7 feet long, Demings said, adding he’s unsure of its exact size.
The family was taking part in a movie night at the Disney resort, and according to witnesses, were the only people wading in the lagoon. Authorities say here are multiple “No Swimming” signs surrounding the lagoon. That doesn’t make it any less of a tragedy. It is hard to imagine the horror this family is going through right now.
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