Two-year-old Lane Graves was building sand castles at a Walt Disney World resort when he was attacked and killed by an alligator last June, according to a report from Florida’s wildlife agency released Monday.
The final report on the tragic incident from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) includes new details about the horrific attack on June 14 and the father’s desperate attempts to save his son.
According to the report, the Graves family was sitting on a lagoon at the Disney Grand Floridian Resort where the two-year-old was building sand castles.
“Lane was using a bucket to get water from the Seven Seas Lagoon and pouring it on the sand,” the FWC said. “He was in the water not more than ankle deep.”
As the toddler bent down with his bucket to retrieve water, an alligator, measuring roughly two-metres long, bit Lane around the head and throat and began dragging the child into deeper water.
Matt Graves, who was sitting nearby, rushed into the water to save his son.
“He put his hands into the alligator’s mouth and tried to pull it open,” the FWC said. “The alligator thrashed and broke Matt’s grasp and went under the water. The alligator released Lane, who remained submerged near the attack location.”
The report says Lane did not provoke the gator and that the death has been classified as a predatory attack. It adds the alligator may have had a reduced fear of people after living in a highly populated area.
Officials also said they are “confident” that one of the gators they captured was “very likely” the killer, but “cannot say with absolute certainty that the subject animal has been taken.”
“We continue to pray for the Graves family,” FWC director Nick Wiley said in a statement. “Our agency will continue to work to keep families informed on how they can safely enjoy all that Florida has to offer.”
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