ORLANDO • A two-year-old boy who was attacked and dragged into the water by an alligator at a lake in Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is unlikely to be found alive, according to police officials.
The attack occurred at about 9.15pm on Tuesday (9.15am Wednesday, Singapore time) on the beach area of the artificial Seven Seas Lagoon, Sheriff Jerry Demings said at a news conference yesterday.
The boy, who was with his mother, father and four-year-old sister, was partly in the water at the edge of the lagoon when the alligator - thought to be 1.2m to 2m long - pulled him away, the sheriff said.
"The father entered the water and tried to grab the child and was not successful in doing so," said Sheriff Demings, adding that the father suffered scratches on his hand from the encounter and that there were other witnesses to the attack.
Sheriff Demings said there is little hope that the boy, who was from Nebraska, would survive.
But he added: "We will continue the search throughout the course of the evening."
"Multiple deputies" were at the site overnight, he said. "More are coming this morning, fresh eyes to give another fresh look at the water. We'll have deputies in the air as well."
Rescuers used sonar and lit the area with bright lights overnight as a helicopter hovered overhead. Firefighters stood at the water's edge with infrared cameras scanning the water for the child. An alligator trapper was involved in the hunt and a dive team was on standby.
"We are very hopeful, hoping for the best," said Sheriff Demings. "Sometimes you get the worst, but we're certainly hoping for the best."
The lake is part of a Disney complex that includes another hotel. Both are connected to the Magic Kingdom, one of four theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
There was a "no swimming" sign at the lake, but no warning about alligators, Mr Nick Wiley from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told reporters.
NEW YORK TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE