An alligator attack at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida has led to the death of 2-year-old Lane Graves.

On Tuesday (14th June), the boy was playing on the beach of Walt Disney World’s Seven Seas Lagoon at about 9:20pm when he was snatched by the gator. The man-made Seven Seas Lagoon is surrounded by a beach and several outdoor pools and bars, and a number of families were outside enjoying “Movie Night” when the incident happened.

His father, Matt, tried to fight the scaly animal to free him while his mother, Melissa, screamed for a lifeguard to help but they failed to rescue the boy.


The Nebraska couple were on vacation at Walt Disney World with Lane and their 4-year-old daughter. Sadly, it would be their last as a complete family.

A search party was deployed immediately and for 16 hours, helicopter, boats, and divers combed the area for Lane. During he search, investigators pulled and euthanised 5 gators from the area but have not determined the culprit. The responsible gator is believed to be about 4-to-7-feet long.

The dive team later recovered his body, intact, in 6 feet of murky water perhaps 10 to 15 yards from where the attack happened.

According to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings, Lane appears to have drowned in the roughly 172-acre lake after the gator pulled him underwater. “Of course, the autopsy has to confirm that, but there is likely no question in my mind that the child was drowned by the alligator,” Demings said.

Demings added that the boy’s parents were distraught yet relieved that this was not a protracted search. He said he brought a priest with him when breaking the news to the parents, who are Catholic.

Walt Disney World, formally called Walt Disney World Resort and also known as Disney World is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake, Florida near Orlando. The resort is the flagship destination of Disney’s worldwide corporate enterprise and the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an attendance of over 52 million people annually.

The resort covers 27,258 acres, housing 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues.

Walt Disney World vice president Jacquee Wahler has since released an official statement to say that they were devastated by the tragic accident. “Our thoughts are with the family. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement,” the statement said.


Lane’s death marks the first alligator attack on the park’s property since a predator bit the legs of an 8-year-old boy, who survived, on Disney’s Fort Wilderness campground in 1986.

The accident brings more grief to Orange County after the worst mass shooting in US history on Sunday at Pulse Club and the murder of YouTube sensation Christina Grimmie following a Friday concert.

Sources: CNN, Orange Country Sheriff OfficeCBS News / Featured image: Wikimedia.

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