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Disney World alligator attack: Four animals euthanised during search for missing boy

The dead reptiles bared no signs of the child 

Will Worley
Wednesday 15 June 2016 18:08 BST
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Alligators are common throughout Florida
Alligators are common throughout Florida (AFP)

Four alligators have been euthanised during the search for a missing child, dragged into a lagoon by one of the creatures at a Disney resort, investigators have said.

Their bodies were examined but there was no evidence of an attack on the two-year-old boy, who was was snatched as he paddled in view of his family on the shore of the Seven Seas lagoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Orlando, Florida.

A search for the child is continuing but has so far been unsuccessful.

Officials from the Florida Wildlife Commission said its investigators were trained to identify possible culprit alligators, leading to the deaths of the four reptiles.

The lagoon's size is unknown to investigators, but it feeds off in to a number of different canals, further complicating search efforts.

The alligator was estimated to be between 4ft and 7ft long. The animals are common throughout Florida and have been known to grow to enormous sizes.

The revelation comes after police told of how the boy's father desperately fought to rescue his son after he was snatched by the alligator.

“It’s my understanding the father was there nearby and the child was playing in the water, just a foot or so into the water, and the alligator came up,” Orange County Sheriff, Jerry Demings, told reporters on Tuesday.

“The father at some point struggled to try to get his son and was not successful and then alerted others to try and assist him in the process.”

The mother of the child also may have entered the lagoon in an attempt to rescue him, Sheriff Demings said.

'Monster' alligator filmed ambling around Florida golf course

A 50-strong search party, including an alligator tracker, sonar, marine units and helicopters searched through the night in a bid to find the child. A similar response is expected today, and police vowed to continue searching.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahaler said everyone at the resort was devastated by what happened and Disney is helping the family. When asked if Disney was aware of alligators on the property, Ms Wahaler said there were signs that said "no swimming."

There had been no other recent reports of similar alligator attacks on the lake, Ms Demings said, adding, "We have no record of this happening before."

The incident comes two days after a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub nearby in Orlando in the worst mass murder in modern US history.

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