Authorities are continuing the search for a 2-year-old boy who was dragged away by an alligator from a Disney World, Orlando, Fla., resort late Tuesday, as officials continue to pull alligators from the nearby lagoon in order to check for the boy’s body, CBS News reports.
Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jeff Williamson said the search near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa was still being considered a “search-and-rescue operation,” despite fears of the worst.
“We are very hopeful,” he said at a morning news conference, CBS reports. “Sometimes you get the worst, but we are hoping for the best.”
Officials told CBS affiliate WKMG that they were going to “keep searching and searching and searching until we can’t search anymore.”
So far, four alligators have been taken from the water overnight, euthanized and analyzed for evidence of the boy. However, officials have found nothing to signal that those four were involved in the attack.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation’s Nick Wiley told CBS that it is rare for people to be attacked by the animals.
The boy’s family had come in from Nebraska for vacation Sunday. The family was hanging out on the beach of Seven Seas Lagoon around 9:30 p.m. when the attack happened. The child was wading in the water nearby, while his 4-year-old sister was in a playpen about 20 to 30 yards from the water, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said.
The boy was probably a foot or two into the water when the alligator attacked. The boy’s father ran into the water but could not rescue his son.
“The father actually went into the water to wrestle his son from the grips of the alligator,” Demings said. The father suffered cuts and lacerations.
According to CBS, the attack happened in an area where “No Swimming” signs were posted.
The alligator that took the child is estimated to be about 4-7 feet long.
Law-enforcement officers searched the lagoon with an alligator tracker and two marine units throughout the night with the aid of a sonar boat. Williamson said Wednesday that more individuals would be brought in to bring “fresh eyes” to the search.
When asked by reporters the odds of rescuing the child, Williamson responded, “Right now, hopefully, we’re searching for a little boy to bring the family some comfort.”
Read more at CBS News.