LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Walt Disney World announced on Wednesday that all beaches at its 26 Orlando resorts will close. The announcement came after an alligator pulled a 2-year-old boy into the water on Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday morning, authorities said the search for the boy is now a recovery mission. The search was earlier described as a rescue mission.
The boy and his family were relaxing along a sandy beach area at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort in Orlando around 9 p.m. when the incident happened, officials say. During a 6:30 a.m. press conference, Florida Fish and Wildlife officials said the child still has not been found, and it remains a “search and rescue” operation, holding out hope the boy could be found alive.
Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the boy was about a foot into the water when his father spotted the alligator. The lake is called Seven Seas Lagoon and flows into Bay Lake.
“The father entered the water, and he tried to grab the child, and was not successful in doing so. At some point I’m told the mother may have entered the water. So the parents diligently tried to get the child,” Sheriff Demings said. “They alerted a nearby lifeguard there in the area as well. But they were unsuccessful in their efforts.”
During the search efforts overnight, FWC officials pulled, and euthanized, four alligators from the water in order to check for evidence of the boy, however nothing was found.
Witnesses told authorities the alligator was between four and seven feet long.
The family was vacationing in Orlando from Nebraska. They also have a 4-year-old girl who is uninjured.
The only sign along the water is a “no swimming” sign.
An alligator trapper is currently searching for the animal. Crews are searching by air and on the water, and are using sonar technology. Dive teams are standing by. The sheriff said everyone is holding out hope and are working hard to find the boy alive. But at this point, the child has not been found.