'No Question' Toddler Is Dead After Being Snatched by Alligator at Disney Resort: Sheriff
Authorities have ramped up the search for a toddler that was snatched by an alligator in front of his horrified parents at a Disney resort in Orlando on Tuesday.
By Wednesday morning, authorities said the joint agency effort had officially become a recovery effort after night came and went with no sign of the 2-year-old.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said during a Wednesday morning press conference that there is "no question" that the toddler is dead.
"We're working on recovering the body of the child at this point," he said.
Officials say a Nebraska family was relaxing beside the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa around 9 p.m. when the 4 to 7-foot gator attacked the boy and dragged him into the water.
The boy's desperate father then attempted to go in after the alligator, police say.
"The father entered the water and tried to grab the child from the gator, but was not successful," Orange County Sheriff's Jerry Demings said at a press conference.
Dozens of officers from multiple rescue agencies swarmed the lake after the family alerted a lifeguard about the attack.
"There were eyewitnesses who certainly saw the child taken under the water," Demings said. "We know that that happened and it is certainly not survivable at this point for him to have been submerged for that period of time."
After hours of searching the man-made lake, officials were not able to find the boy.
While Demings said this has become a recovery effort, he added “we’re not leaving until we recover the child."
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said they have taken four alligators out of the lake to be euthanized and analyzed.
However, none were believed to be behind the attack.
According to authorities, there have been no recent reports of nuisance gators in the lake. While there are no warning signs about the creatures, there are signs that warn against swimming.
"Everyone here at the Walt Disney World 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." Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement.