A rescue mission is underway to find a 2-year-old boy who was reportedly dragged into a lake by an alligator at a Disney World resort hotel.
Officers from the Orange County Sheriff's office and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission are working together to search the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Hotel just outside of Orlando. The search is also being aided by two marine units, sonar equipment, helicopters, a dive team and an alligator trapper, USA Today reports.
The toddler was relaxing with his family along the shoreline at around 9 p.m. on June 14 when he was snatched by an alligator, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Witnesses said the alligator was anywhere between 4 to 7 feet long.
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"The father entered the water and he tried to grab the child, but was not successful in doing so," Orlando Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters during a news conference on June 15, according to USA Today. The mother also reportedly tried pulling the child back to safety to no avail.
A nearby lifeguard heard the couple’s cries for help and called 911. The father suffered minor injuries to his hands during the incident.
The couple had been staying at the resort on vacation with their three children since June 12, Demings said.
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"As a father, as a grandfather, we're going to hope for the best in these circumstances, but based on my 35 years of law enforcement experience we know that we have some challenges ahead of us at this time," Demings said.
"Everyone here at the Walt Disney World resort is devastated by this tragic accident," Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said in a statement. "We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement."
Four alligators have since been removed from the lagoon, but no evidence of the child was found, CBS12 News reported. Those alligators had to be euthanized to determine if they were involved in the incident.
"We're doing our best to deal with all of the situations that we have going on here, but our staff is very resilient and tonight they are very focused on assisting this family," Demings said.