Grim Details of Fatal Disney Alligator Attack Emerge With Release of Final Report From Wildlife Agency
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has released the final report on the death of two-year-old Lane Graves, the Nebraska boy who was attacked and drowned by an alligator while visiting Disney World with his family in June.
According to the report, the 7-foot alligator that attacked Graves grabbed the little boy's head when he was bent down at the water's edge at Disney's Seven Seas Lagoon.
Graves was building a sandcastle on the beach outside Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.
The report also reveals that Graves's father, Matt, reached into the reptile's mouth in an attempt to free his son's head, but to no avail.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office simultaneously released its final report on Monday afternoon. The report details several resort guests reporting sightings of the alligator “shortly before” the attack took place.
According to WTOP and the FWC's report:
"Tourist Alfred Smith said he photographed the alligator from his hotel room balcony about an hour and a half before the attack. A short time before the attack, he said, he saw children playing in the ankle-deep water. He was heading out the door to warn them about the alligator when he heard Lane’s mother screaming.
Another tourist, Shawna Giacomini told investigators her two daughters saw the alligator five feet from shore about 45 minutes before the attack. The eldest daughter told a Disney employee about it, and that employee went to inform another Disney worker. The Giacominis went to a nearby store and when they returned the boy had been attacked."
The most disturbing detail perhaps is what the lifeguard, who responded to the cry for help, saw after the attack.
According to the reports, Disney lifeguard Christopher Tubbs told deputies that he saw the little boy's feet sticking out of the water just 20 feet from shore after the gator's initial attack:
“He saw the alligator start slash(ing) around and the shoes went under the water,” the Sheriff's Office report states. “And the alligator began its death roll.”
The FWC's report concludes Graves did nothing to provoke the alligator, believing the alligator had a “diminished fear of humans,” and that it was a “predatory attack.” It also concluded Lane Graves died as a result of a “crushing bite and drowning.”
Walt Disney World has since built barriers around the lagoon and posted signs warning its patrons of the dangers of reptiles.
While earlier reports expressed belief that park goers were feeding the alligators that lived in the lagoon, wildlife officials have not been able to prove that and are still investigating.