The father of a two-year-old boy killed by an alligator at Disney last month spoke with the rescue officials, pointing out that a second alligator was involved in the attack, as stated by emails from the Reedy Creek Fire Department.
According to Matt Graves, a second alligator attacked him when he attempted to reach out to his child, Lane, after the toddler was pulled into the water outside the Grand Floridian Resort.
In a statement from Capt. Tom Wellons, he narrated his conversations with the Nebraska father in emails obtained by The Orlando Sentinel. Wellons recalled how Graves first refused to take himself off the area when rescuers began to look for his son even though he was visibly wounded and needed medicine and stitches for the alligator bite marks.
Eventually, Wellons convinced Graves to seek medical treatment, assuring him of permission to return afterward.
“This incredibly sweet couple insisted on showing us pictures of their happy son. (The) mom kept referring to him as her ‘happy boy,'” Wellons stated in the email.
As he headed to the hospital, the father also recalled “the horror that he experiences” as the child was pulled into the water and “how another gator attacked him as he fought for his son,” as stated in the email to supervisors.
When the emails were forwarded to officials in Orange County, they were alerted of a possible second alligator in the area. A total of five alligators were killed during the search for body, which took 16 hours.
Lane’s body was discovered, still intact, six feet underwater and about 15 yards from the shore. The toddler died due to traumatic injuries and drowning.
Although the signs placed around the area warned against swimming, they did not mention alligators.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials, they remain “confident” after catching the alligator that killed Graves’ son.
Agency records made an official list of alligators caught on Disney property, recording at least 15 alligators from the start of this year until May. However, the list did not include the six ones trapped since the attack occurred on June 14.
Walt Disney World recently placed “No Fishing” signs on a number of properties; fishing at Disney World has now been limited to special trips. Following the attack, netting has also been added onto the rope fences that were erected onto the property.
Hotel beaches are also being closely monitored by staff members and is being closed at night, except during the fireworks display.
Disney currently has beaches at eight hotels as well as at the Fort Wilderness campground.
It has also gotten rid of references, illustrations and other depictions of alligators and crocodiles from its popular attractions at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.
In a Miami Herald report, even cartoon alligators and crocodiles are also said to have been taken away from parades, shows and other events.
Walt Disney World Resort Vice President Jacquee Wahler issued an official statement and confirmed to The Washington Post that the company “made changes out of respect for the family."