The search for the little boy who was dragged away by an alligator into the water by Disney World Tuesday night has turned into a “recovery effort,” officials said on Wednesday.
“We know that we are now working on recovering the body of the child at this point,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said in a press conference at noon, via a live feed. Demings added that the attack is “certainly not survivable at this point” and said the family of the boy, who has not been identified, “will no question lose a 2-year-old child.”
Nick Wiley of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission said they’re “hopeful we can bring some closure to the family.”
“I can tell you that this is very concerning to Disney,” Demings said. Nine different properties at the beach resort areas have been closed “to ensure that we can continue our operation without interference from watercraft.”
Demings said “we’re going to continue to search until we find the body,” which will likely extend beyond Wednesday.
Wiley said Disney has been “very proactive” in dealing with alligators. The alligators “have to be euthanized” because officials can’t move them. “Disney has an amazing program,” he said, adding they have a system to “remove any potential threats.”
Demings said Disney has never experienced anything like this in its 45 years of operating parks in Florida.
In the search, alligator trappers, sheriff’s department divers, and sonar equipment have been deployed to search man-made canals, ponds, and lakes.
Meanwhile, a Disney representative told Epoch Times that the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, near where child went missing, is open.
“Everyone here at the Walt Disney World Resort is devastated by this tragic accident. Our thoughts are with the family. We are helping the family and doing everything we can to assist law enforcement,” Jacquee Wahler, vice president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in a statement.
The child was on the edge of the lagoon when the alligator dragged him into the water on Tuesday night, the boy’s family told CNN.
Demings cautioned that the investigation is still in its early stages, and officials need to interview several other families who witnessed the attack at the Seven Seas Lagoon.