Dad Tried To Wrestle Alligator That Took Son At Disney World, Say Witnesses

As the frantic search for a toddler dragged into the water by an alligator near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando continues, sickening details about how the tragedy unfolded have emerged.
Witnesses say the 2-year-old boy and his family – on holiday from Nebraska – were enjoying ‘Movie Night’ at the resort when the tragic incident took place.
He was apparently wading in the shallow waters of the manmade Seven Seas Lagoon, which is surrounded by a little beach area plus several outdoor pools and bars within the popular hotel complex, at about 9:20pm local time when the reptile snatched him. 
The child’s father apparently rushed into the shallow water in a desperate attempt to wrestle the boy from the gator – believed to be between 1.2 and 2 metres long – but was unsuccessful, triggering a search and rescue mission involving more than 50 law enforcement personnel.
As the search enters its eighth hour, hotel guest Katherine Popp reports via Twitter that staff requested people switch off their room lights to assist with the recovery effort – presumably because alligator’s eyes glow red in the dark, making them easier to spot. 

This is incredibly sad. A small child was dragged into the lagoon right outside my room. I’m standing outside watching them search for someone’s baby. #orlando #grandfloridian

A video posted by Katherine White Popp (@katherine_white_popp) on

My deepest condolences to the family of the child in this tragic event tonight in Orlando. Truly sad. Not fair.

A video posted by Jacob Simmons (@jacob_simmons98) on

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told media he’s realistic about the boy’s chances of survival but that, dead or alive, they wouldn’t stop searching until he was recovered.

“As a father, as a grandfather, we are going to hope for the best in these circumstances but based on my 35 years of experience, we know that we have some challenges ahead,” he said. “We are not leaving until we recover the child.”
He also dismissed rumours of similar alligator attacks occurring at the lagoon, where signs advise people not to swim but don’t warn of alligators.

“We have no record of this happening before,” he stated.
A rep for the Walt Disney Company said the resort is “devastated by this tragic accident” and that its staff is doing everything possible to assist authorities and the boy’s family.
You can watch the press conference in full here:

As for an alligator ending up in a manmade hotel lagoon, it’s actually not entirely bonkers; there’s an estimated 1.3 million wild gators in Florida alone.
It’s understood any alligator found on Disney property that exceeds 1 metres in length is removed and relocated (except from golf courses, where they’re allowed to roam free). But, given the open layout of the waterways on the Grand Floridian property, it’s entirely possible one snuck into the Seven Seas Lagoon undetected.
We’ll update this awful story as it develops.
Source: CNN.
Photo: Twitter / @katherinepopp.