Last night, an alligator snatched a 2-year-old boy in a lagoon at a Disney hotel near Orlando. A frantic overnight search has been ensuing unsuccessfully to find the boy, which has officially been declared a “recovery mission” by Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, who has reportedly stated that it’s “no question,” now the afternoon after the attack. *Edit: The body has now been recovered.
So, what exactly happened? A 7- to 8-foot alligator snatched the boy while wading in less than a foot of water at the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Hotel with his father. His father tried to grab him, but was unsuccessful. The Nebraska family of four–the boy, his parents and his 4-year-old sister–arrived to the hotel on Sunday.
Until now, it was reported that no similar incidents have occurred in this specific area, as people are not their typical prey, as was noted by Nick Wiley, the executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Apparently, there have only been 23 fatalities caused by alligators in Florida since the 1940s.
As of now, of course, Disney has closed all beaches in its resort area “out of an abundance of caution,” according to CNN. Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler issued a statement:
“Everyone here at the Walt Disney World resort is devastated by this tragic accident. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement.”
The accident is absolutely horrifying, and I can’t imagine the absolute devastation the boy’s family are facing right now. There was nothing his parents could have done to have prevented–or stopped–the attack. That lack of control is one of the hardest things for anyone to deal with in times of tragedy.
It is especially devastating, as Orlando is still suffering from the mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse–a tragedy that claimed 49 lives on Sunday–and is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.