By Adebayo Williams
A two-year-old boy was on Tuesday night snatched from his family and dragged into a lagoon by an alligator near a Disney World hotel in Orlando, reports say. He had been with his family near the Seven Seas Lagoon before tragedy struck. The family, comprising of three children, had arrived Orlando from Nebraska on Sunday and were relaxing on the beach at the time of the incident. Later, as the child, who was said to be in a play pen, moved about one foot to the water with his mother, the alligator, believed to be anywhere between four and seven feet long, attacked. The father reportedly tried wrestling him free from the reptile’s jaws but was unsuccessful. A combined effort from a lifeguard and the boy’s family to rescue him was futile.
Addressing a press conference on the incident, Orange County Sheriff, Jerry Demings, said a search party had been organised with boats and helicopters combing the area. He said the department would not leave the scene until the child is found. The area has been sealed off as a crime scene.
Alligators are said to be common on the property but are often relocated when there is a large number of guests. Reports say the reptiles are timid and scared of boats and metal screening is installed before the shorelines to prevent them from coming in contact with swimmers.
The tragedy comes days after the shooting and killing of 49 people by a gunman at Pulse, a gay club in Orlando. Before the club massacre, singer Christina Grimmie had been murdered after a concert in the area.