Florida police are currently in the middle of a desperate search for a toddler who was dragged into the water by an alligator.
The incident took place at a Disney resort at around 9pm Tuesday evening. The family, which included a mother, father and three children, were playing at the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon in around a foot of water.
Reports state that the two-year-old was snatched by the animal.
The father desperately attempted to save his child from the alligator’s jaws, but his efforts were unsuccessful. In the struggle, he suffered minor lacerations to his arm. The child’s mother, who apparently was playing with the child at the time of the incident, also dived into the water in a panicked attempt to save him.
Their attempts were in vain as they were forced to watch the alligator retreat into the lagoon with their child in its jaws.
A massive search has been ongoing for the last 13 hours. There are around 50 people involved and resources including alligator trackers, sonar, marine units and helicopters being used in an attempt to locate the child.
According to the Mirror, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said it had so far ‘euthanized’ four alligators in the lagoon. However, after close inspection of these animals, there was no evidence that any of them had attacked the child in question.
Sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson said: “We determined that this child was playing at the edge of the water, probably about a foot or so into the water, when this alligator came up and attacked the child.
“The father did his best, tried to rescue the child, however to no avail. A struggle did ensue and the father has some sort of minor lacerations to his arm, so he was able to get over there fairly quickly.
“You know how a father who witnesses this must have felt. It is tragic, it is heartbreaking, there’s no other way to say it. We’re just going to keep searching and searching and searching.”
A Walt Disney Company spokesperson attended a press conference this morning. The official line was: “Everyone here at Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident.
“Our thoughts are with the family and we are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist them.”
According to Williamson, there were no signs alerting guests to the presence of alligators at the lagoon.
The search continues.