US & Canada

Alligator drags boy into water near Orlando Disney resort

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionOrange County Sheriff Jerry Demings: "The parents diligently tried to get the child...but they were unsuccessful"

Florida police are searching for a two-year-old boy who was dragged into water by an alligator near a Disney resort.

The boy was on the shoreline of the Seven Seas Lagoon by the Disney Grand Floridian Resort and Spa in Orlando when he was dragged away late on Tuesday, officials said.

The boy's father entered the water and tried in vain to grab him from the alligator's jaws, police said.

Fifty police and wildlife experts were searching for the boy, officials said.

"We are searching for a little boy to hopefully bring the family some comfort," said police spokesman Jeff Williamson.

Four alligators have so far been taken from the lake and killed for examination, but no evidence of the boy has been found, police said.

What are the world's deadliest animals?

The family with three children from the state of Nebraska were relaxing near the shore of the lagoon when the incident happened at 21:16 local time (01:16 GMT).

There is a "no swimming" sign on the man-made lagoon, but although the boy was on the edge of the water there was no indication he was swimming, Mr Williamson said.

His father sustained minor lacerations to his arm in the attempt to retrieve his child, he added.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption The incident happened near the Grand Floridian resort

The Grand Floridian is a luxury resort owned by Disney and is located near Disney's Magic Kingdom Park.

A Disney spokeswoman said the company was "devastated" by the incident.

Alligators live across Florida and are a "fundamental part" of its wetlands, swamps, rivers and lakes, state wildlife officials say.

Twenty-two people have been killed by alligators in Florida since 1948, they say.

More on this story