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Body of 2-Year Old Boy Recovered Following Disney Alligator Attack

Officials estimate the alligator that attacked Lane Graves was between 4 and 7 feet long.
Associated Press
Officials estimate the alligator that attacked Lane Graves was between 4 and 7 feet long.

Authorities in Orlando have recovered the body of a 2-year-old boy who was dragged into the water by an alligator at Walt Disney World Tuesday night.

An Orange County Sheriff says the boy's body was found intact by divers using sonar equipment.

Lane Graves of Nebraska was on a Disney vacation with his family. He was wading in the water of the Seven Seas Lagoon near the Grand Floridian Resort when the alligator attacked.

As the father tried to rescue the child, the gator swam away with the boy. A lifeguard was on duty but was apparently too far away to assist.

In a press conference, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said the family asked him to deliver a message.

"They do appreciate all of the prayers to allow those of us who are working on the professional side to do our jobs to recover their son so that they can move forward at this time with a proper burial,” he said.

Demings says the remains were recovered at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

"Of course the autopsy has to confirm it but there's likely no question in my mind that the child was drowned by the alligator,” he said.

Several reporters asked the sheriff about whether Disney World should clarify its warning signs at the manmade lake. There are "no swimming" signs posted , but they don't mention the threat of alligators - or that even wading in the lake is risky.

Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said gator attacks on people are rare, but that they do live in freshwater throughout Florida. Several alligators have been pulled from the body of water since Tuesday night.

Walt Disney Resort has temporarily closed all of its resort beach areas in the wake of the attack.

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Cathy Carter is the education reporter for WUSF 89.7 and StateImpact Florida.