Officials are continuing to search for a 2-year-old boy that was attacked and dragged away by an alligator at Walt Disney World near Orlando on Tuesday night.
USA Today reports that around 50 wildlife specialists are still searching for the boy, including an alligator trapper. According to CNN, helicopters, sonar and marine units are being used to find the child. In addition, the beach was closed off from the public.
“We’re not leaving until we recover the child,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said. At this point, authorities say there is no way the boy could have survived, and they are attempting to recover his body.
The boy was dragged into the Seven Seas Lagoon outside of the Grand Floridian resort by an estimated 4-7 foot long alligator. Although the boy’s father attempted save his son, he was unsuccessful.
In CNN’s report of the incident, Jeff Corwin, an animal expert, was surprised that the attack happened in such a heavily populated, regulated area. However, he also said that there are millions of alligators in Florida and that it wouldn’t be extremely difficult for one to sneak into the park through thick swamp and marsh.
Corwin explained that the sheer force of an alligator’s clamped mouth could equate to thousands of pounds, which explains the father’s inability to wrestle his son away.
Nick Wiley, executive directory of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told USA Today that “People—even small people—are not [an alligator’s] typical prey.” They were probably attracted to some motion on the bank,” Wiley told USA Today. “That’s the way they stalk their prey.”
Fox News reported that authorities had already found and killed five alligators from the lagoon by Wednesday morning to see if they had been involved, but they still haven’t found signs of the child.
Demings reported that the family was vacationing from Nebraska and had arrived at the resort on Sunday.