The world was shocked and saddened on June 14 by the death of two-year-old Lane Graves, who was attacked by an alligator at Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort. The toddler had been watching a screening of Zootopia with his family and other Disney resort guests when he waded into an ankle-deep water feature and was snatched.
What followed was a frantic-but-failed rescue effort that quickly turned into a recovery when it became clear that the Disney World alligator attack had likely resulted in the little boy’s death. His body was recovered shortly thereafter, and following the two-year-old’s horrific and unprecedented Disney World death, questions swirled.
Now, more than two months after the fatal Disney World alligator attack, an official report regarding the incident has been released. The report was revealed to the public on Monday, and it uncovered some tragic and horrifying details of the final moments of young Lane Graves’ life, as well as the moments leading up to the Disney World alligator attack. The official investigative report into the incident was compiled and released by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking revelation that was made in the report was that two-year-old Lane Graves was grabbed by his head when the alligator fatally attacked him at the Disney World resort. The attack happened at around 9 p.m., and the little boy had apparently waded into the shallows to fill a bucket with water in order to make sand castles at the time of the alligator attack. He was bent over when the alligator nabbed him and ultimately dragged him to his death.
The New York Post also reports that it is sounding more and more as though the Disney World alligator death may have been preventable. This is because another resort guest, Shawna Giacomini of North Carolina, actually saw an alligator close to the shore only 45 minutes before the alligator attack and Lane’s untimely death.
According to the North Carolina tourist, when she saw the alligator, it was within five feet of the shore. At the time of the sighting, her 15-year-old daughter reported the sighting to a Disney World “movie coordinator.” Then, according to the report, that Disney World employee reported to alligator sighting to another man wearing a shirt labeled “Coordinator.”
Unfortunately, despite the guest’s report of an alligator close-encounter, less than an hour later, Lane Graves was attacked by the alligator at the Disney World resort, leading to his death.
“The Giacomini’s went to the store and when they returned, the attack had already occurred.”
The official report into the Disney World alligator death of Lane Graves indicates that the Giacomini’s weren’t the only guests at the Disney World resort to have an alligator sighting that evening. Reportedly, an unnamed guest at the resort saw an alligator near the beach at about 7:30 p.m., he said he spotted the gator from his balcony. However, he didn’t report the sighting prior to the death of Lane Graves.
At approximately 7:40 p.m. on June 14, South Carolina tourist Alfred Smith snapped a picture of an alligator at the Disney world resort. He told investigators that he reported the sighting to a Disney resort employee and that that employee “saw the alligator.”
“Just before the attack, he saw the kids in the water ankle deep and was going out the door to warn them when he heard the mother screaming.”
The alligator that attacked Lane at the Disney World resort and was responsible for the death of the toddler is believed to have been between seven and eight feet long. It is also worth noting that the Disney World alligator attack took place in an area where “No Swimming” signs were clearly posted.
Since the Disney World alligator death, the resort has placed new signs near the man-made water feature to warn resort guests that there are alligators and other animals in the area, and to stay out of the water.
The little boy’s father tried desperately but unsuccessfully to rescue his son, who was ultimately dragged out into the water feature to his death. Authorities and investigators believe that the alligator who attacked and killed the two-year-old was acting in a predatory manner at the time of his death.
Because of the child’s small size, it is most likely that the alligator simply saw him as food.
Since the death of Lane Graves, Florida fish and game employees have captured and euthanized a half-dozen alligators from the area of the Disney World resort alligator attack. However, they are not 100 percent certain that they have eliminated the alligator from the Disney World resort that was responsible for the toddler’s death.
[Photo via Joe Raedle/Getty Images]