A 2-year-old child is missing after being dragged into the water by an alligator at Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Bay Lake, Florida, on Tuesday, June 14.
The boy, who has not been identified, was pulled into the Seven Seas Lagoon at about 9:16 p.m., Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters in a press conference at about 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning.
Demings said that the family of five, who arrived at the resort on Sunday, June 12, from Nebraska, were out on the sand at the lagoon, "just simply relaxing out in the area and wading in the water along the lake's edge at the time the alligator attacked the child."
More than 50 law enforcement officers have teamed up with staff from Florida Fish & Wildlife to search the lagoon with the help of a helicopter and boats. An alligator trapper is also at the scene.
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The sheriff said "the father entered the water and tried to grab his son from the alligator but was unsuccessful" and suffered minor scratches to his hands. The mother also went into the water and they alerted a nearby lifeguard who also tried to help.
Demings said several eyewitnesses spoke to police and gave a description of what happened, adding that the alligator is "anywhere from four feet to six or seven feet" in length. He told reporters that there are signs near the lagoon that warn guests against swimming in the water.
Deputies put up yellow crime-scene tape around the water outside the resort, which is located adjacent to the Magic Kingdom near Orlando, Florida.
The search is set to continue through the night. "As a father, as a grandfather, we're going to hope for the best in these circumstances but based on my 35 years of law enforcement experience, we know we have some challenges at this time," Demings said.