Florida Disney resort close beaches after boy grabbed by alligator

By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Walt Disney World resort in Florida closed its beaches on Wednesday as law enforcement officials hunted for signs of a 2-year-old boy who was dragged by an alligator into a lagoon at the resort despite his father’s rescue attempt, according to officials and CNN reports.

Wildlife officials captured and euthanized four alligators from the lagoon to examine them for traces of the child after the Tuesday night attack but found no evidence they were involved, said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The boy, whose name was not released by authorities, was attacked by the reptile at the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in Lake Buena Vista near Orlando, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said.

The alligator grabbed the boy as he played at the edge of the water while his family, vacationing from Nebraska, relaxed on the shore nearby, sheriff’s spokesman Jeff Williamson said at a news conference.

The boy’s father rushed into the water after the alligator struck and struggled to release his child from the alligator’s grip, Williamson said.

Disney has closed its beaches “out of an abundance of caution,” CNN reported, citing a Disney spokesperson.

More than 60 sheriff’s deputies and wildlife officials were expected to search for the boy on Wednesday, using sonar technology, helicopters and divers.

(Additional reporting and writing by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee and Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by W Simon and Bill Trott)