An official report in the Disney alligator death of 2-year-old Lane Graves was released on Monday. The toddler was killed while playing near the shallow water on a beach resort in Orlando. The unsuspecting child was snatched by an alligator lurking by the shoreline on June 14 around 8:30 p.m. His father intervened by trying to release the boy from the alligator’s jaws, but his efforts were unsuccessful. Lane died from drowning and injuries sustained in the alligator attack.
CBS News reports that the final report disclosed how the toddler was killed in the tragic attack, calling it a “predatory attack,” and Lane did nothing to provoke the 7-foot-long reptile to take his life. The report read that the alligator might not have feared humans due to being exposed to so many of them at Disney World.
According to the events that unfolded, the alligator bit Lane Graves on the head as he bent down at the edge of a lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. He was dragged into the water, but he wasn’t found until the next morning. His autopsy showed that he died of drowning and traumatic injuries.
In a highly cited report by Time, Lane’s father, Matt Graves, said he saw the alligator “coming out of the water to get” his son. He said in spite of his efforts to save his son, the predator “just took off” with his son to deeper water. By the next morning, the boy’s body was found in 7-foot-deep water in relative proximity to where he was taken. Officials said he suffered injuries to his head and neck. A medical examiner ruled the alligator attack an accidental death.
The 2-year-old victim was described as 37-inches-tall and weighing 30 pounds.
Father of alligator attack victim Lane Graves: “I saw it come out to get him” https://t.co/UT0lQ8AYtf
— TIME.com (@TIME) August 22, 2016
Six alligators were captured by wildlife officials and euthanized in the hopes that one of those was the one that killed Lane. The official report indicates that there’s a level of uncertainty that the alligator responsible for killing the child might not have been euthanized.
“While we cannot say with absolute certainty that the subject animal has been taken, we are confident that the evidence gathered shows it is very likely that one of the two females captured close to the attack location was the offending animal,” the report said.
It’s further noted in the report that two of the alligators had empty stomachs. Officials explain that because of that, the lagoon gators’ “drive for food would be strong.”
FWC Director Nick Wiley released a statement expressing that officials “continue to pray for the Graves family,” and he said their agency “will continue to work to keep families informed on how they can safely enjoy all that Florida has to offer.”
Several alligator experts weighed in on the attack to say that although there were precautions taken by Disney to keep the resort area safe from predatory wildlife, alligators have super abilities in getting through barriers to find food, or in the case of males, to expand their territory. There was even mention that the time of night the toddler was taken by the alligator was during a prime feeding time for the animal.
The parents of Lane Graves decided not to sue Disney for their son’s death.
“We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane,” they said in the statement. “As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world.”
In the ensuing days after Lane’s death, Disney World put up warning signs and ropes around the resort area. To avoid any future tragedies, Disney has added a rock border around the area where the toddler was grabbed by the alligator.
— People Magazine (@people) August 9, 2016
The Disney alligator death has also prompted the construction of a border around the Seven Seas Lagoon. It’s not likely to deter alligators, but it might keep people from getting to the water. People reports that the project is expected to be finished in September.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]