The Reedy Creek Emergency Services call center received a report about the attack by alligator at 9:16 p.m. ET. on a sandy waterfront area outside Disney Hotel near the Seven Seas Lagoon.
The family was on holiday from Nebraska, and the boy was one of three children. The father was believed to have scratched his hand in his attempt to grab his child from the alligator and was currently being assisted by authorities.
A search is on to find a 2-year-old boy who was attacked by an alligator and dragged into a lagoon at a Disney hotel near Orlando.
The child was “wading just in the water along the lake’s edge at the time that the alligator attacked,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
“The father actually went into the water to wrestle his son from the grips of the alligator,” he said. The father suffered minor scratches on his hand, but was unsuccessful in getting his son back.
The mother also went into the water, but did not wrestle the gator — she was trying to find her child, he said.
“The sad reality of it is it’s been several hours and we’re not likely going to recover a live body,” he said.
Demings said there is no record of similar incidents in this particular area.
The family of four — parents, the boy and his 4-year-old sister — is on vacation from Nebraska, Demings said. They arrived Sunday.
“Everyone here at the Walt Disney Resort is devastated by this tragic accident,” Disney said.
Demings said no reports of nuisance alligators have come in the region recently. The alligator is between 4 and 7 feet long, Demings said, adding he’s unsure of its exact size.
Authorities have searched for the child for about four hours and do not plan to stop until he is found or recovered.
Helicopters, sonar, marine units and an alligator trapper are being used in the rescue effort. Divers are on standby.
“We’re not leaving until we recover the child,” Demings said.
A handful of people witnessed the incident and supplied police with information. CNN staff on the scene saw at least 10 emergency vehicles, and the beach has been cordoned off.
The Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife is conducting a parallel investigation and is participating in the search. It has deployed an alligator trapper, officer Chad Weber said.
“We’re putting every effort into locating the child and trapping this alligator,” he said. “We’ll be here with them until there’s a resolution.”
A witness told CNN a movie was being screened on the beach that evening.
A helicopter with a search light scoured the lagoon as a handful of Disney employees ushered people away from the sidewalks overlooking the beach.