It was an unimaginably sad week for a family from Nebraska, who were vacationing in Orlando, Florida near a Disney Resort.
Parents Matt and Melissa Graves watched in agony on Tuesday as their 2-year-old boy was snatched by a 7-8-foot alligator while he was doing nothing more than splashing around in the shallow fresh water lagoon in the area.
Image Credit: John Taggart, European Pressphoto Agency
What was supposed to be nothing more than a vacation for fun, turned into a nightmare.
The father is said to have ran after the boy, but was unable to win over the alligator. After the failed attempt, the father even attempted to call upon the help of a lifeguard, but instead, authorities were called in to attempt to save the boy’s life.
It wasn’t until 16 hours later, on Wednesday, that divers from the local Sheriff’s department found the boy’s lifeless body about six feet under the surface of the 200-acre body of water.
Image Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Office
It was by no means an easy day for the family, but the boy’s body was reportedly found intact, rather than dismembered, which the local Sheriff claims was relieving for the family. This means the boy died from drowning, rather than from wounds.
“His body was completely intact,” Sheriff Demings said at a news conference. “The family was distraught but also, I believe, relieved that we were able to find their son. The child was drowned by the alligator.”
Still, there is no recovering from such a loss.
It was indeed a sad event, and the local authorities remind everyone of the dangers that lurk in Florida’s fresh waters and notes to heed the posted “No Swimming” signs wherever possible for your own safety.
This is reportedly the first incident of such an event happening in the area in 45 years. Alligator attacks are not common, and the creatures often leave humans alone unless provoked or when humans invade their territory.
Disney park-goers are in shock after hearing about the tragedy, with many suggesting that Disney could have done more to prevent it than simply posting “No Swimming” signs. After all, alligators are both land and water creatures, and warning park-goers not to swim only helps to protect those in the water, not those on surrounding land.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission notes that Disney has a wildlife management division that actively monitors alligator activity in the park’s waters, and removes the ones that appear to be “troublesome.”
Disney has reportedly closed all of its beaches until further notice.
Source: USA Today