Just days after 2-year-old Lane Graves was attacked and drowned by an alligator at the Seven Seas lagoon at a Walt Disney resort, the theme park not only installed alligator warning signs, but they have since built a fence around the pond, reported Inside the Magic.
Since the tragic incident, the parents, Matt and Melissa Graves of Elkhorn, Nebraska, stated that they were “devastated by the tragic loss of their son.”
Lane Graves, 2
Rest In Peace, little man. pic.twitter.com/QgnZkLzHnF
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) June 16, 2016
Just before 9 p.m. Tuesday, Lane was playing near the edge of the lagoon at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Orlando, where his family were vacationing. However, a day of fun soon turned tragic when an alligator suddenly snatched the boy and dragged him into the lagoon.
The child’s father, Matt, was in close proximity and tried desperately to save his son. He reportedly wrestled with the alligator, attempting to pry its mouth open so that it would release his son, but it was to no avail. The alligator dragged the child into the lagoon.
A witness, whose name has not been released, told reporters that he watched the incident from his balcony as it unfolded, but he initially believed that someone had gotten into a fight. It wasn’t until later that he realized that it was something far worse.
“I looked over and here comes one of the lifeguards. The mother was there, and she was frantic, running up and down looking.”
When emergency services arrived at the scene, they were shocked to uncover that a 2-year-old child had been attacked by an alligator and dragged into the lagoon at the Walt Disney resort. The Orange County dive team was immediately sent out to the location, attempting to find the body of the child.
Five alligators were captured from the Seven Seas Lagoon and none of which seemed to contain any human remains. Hours went by and there was still no sign of the child, leading police officials to believe that Lane was in fact dead. Their assumptions were proven to be true 17 hours later when the Orange County dive team uncovered the child’s body, which was submerged in “six-feet of murky water 10 to 15 yards from where the boy was attacked.”
According to CNN, the body of the child found dead was “intact with a few puncture wounds.” An autopsy was later performed on the child, where a local medical examiner stated that the cause of death was “drowning and traumatic injuries.”
The parents of the child refrained from making any public statements until recently, where they stated the following.
“Words cannot describe the shock and grief our family is experiencing over the loss of our son.”
“We are devastated and ask for privacy during this extremely difficult time. To all of the local authorities and staff who worked tirelessly these past 24 hours, we express our deepest gratitude.”
— Ashley Glass (@ashleygTV) June 15, 2016
Following the gator attack in Florida, the president of the Walt Disney World Resort, George Kalogridis, paid tribute to the child where he stated that “there are no words to convey the profound sorrow we feel for the family and their unimaginable loss.”
“We are devastated and heartbroken by this tragic accident and are doing what we can to help the family during this difficult time.”
The Walt Disney president added that “on behalf of everyone at Disney, we offer our deepest sympathies.”
“As a parent and a grandparent, my heart goes out to the Graves family during this time of devastating loss,” said the Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger. “My thoughts and prayers are with them, and I know everyone at Disney joins me in offering our deepest sympathies.”
Although the theme park had already installed no swimming signs near the lagoon, it has been reported that Walt Disney will be installing alligator warning signs following the alligator attack, as well as building a fence to protect the public.
A Go Fund Me page has been created for the Graves family, and they have thus far accumulated over $50,000 in donations.
[Image via AP Image/Lynne Sladky]