No hope is being offered that a two-year-old Nebraska boy dragged underwater by an alligator in Florida survived the attack.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings reports an alligator snatched the boy Tuesday evening as he walked with his family along the beach of the Seven Seas Lagoon, a Disney hotel property.
“This is a tough situation,” Demings tells reporters. “I want all of you to think about this for a moment; those of you who have children or grandchildren or what have you. I just happen to have a two-year-old grandson. So, for me, this is a very human experience that we’re talking about where we’re dealing with this family now who, there’s no question, will lose a two-year-old child.”
The family is from Nebraska, but no other identification has been offered.
The father attempted to save the child, but could not.
More than 50 personnel, managed by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, are searching the lagoon in an attempt to recover the body.
Demings says there is no hope the boy survived the attack.
“Well, we’re 15 hours in and there were eye witnesses here who certainly saw the child taken under the water,” according to Demings. “We know that that happened. It certainly is not survivable at this point for him to have been submerged for this period of time. So, we know that this is a recovery effort at this point.”
The attack occurred Tuesday evening around 9:30pm at the Seven Seas Lagoon, a hotel property operated by Disney near the Magic Kingdom. The two-year-old was wading in the lagoon with his father and mother. His four-year-old sister was in a playpen away from the water.
The alligator, described as four to seven feet long, snatched the boy and took him under the water. Witnesses say the father attempted to fight off the alligator and free his son, but could not. The mother also made an attempt to find the boy.
Demings says the search will continue until the body is recovered.
“We’re going to continue to search until we find the body. Hopefully that will be today, but if it has to extend beyond that we will do that as well.”