Back in June, 2-year-old Lane Graves was attacked by an alligator while playing near one of the manmade lagoons at Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida. His father, Matt, tried to save him, but the attack was ultimately fatal for the toddler. Now, Disney is building a stone wall around the lagoon where it happened.
Lane had been playing in the sand when an alligator snatched him from the shore, dragging him into the water. Even though the attack happened seemingly in the blink of an eye, Matt jumped in after the gator and tried to free his son. Matt reported after that he was also attacked by a second gator as he attempted to rescue his son.
In new details that emerged in a report this week, Matt also told officials that he "reached into the animal’s mouth and grabbed its teeth to try to free his son from the grips of the gator’s jaw," according to Time.
Bystanders reported to TODAY that Matt began yelling for help, realizing that the gator had taken off with his son into the lagoon, far enough away from shore that he wouldn't be able to chase them. The gator dragged Lane away, primarily under water. The child's body was recovered 16 hours after the attack, and an autopsy later revealed the child had died of drowning and traumatic injuries, as reported by The New York Times.
TODAY reported that Disney has now erected a stone wall around the lagoon where the attack occurred, and the resort posted more warnings about alligators in the area. After Lane's death, six alligators in the lagoon were captured and euthanized, and officials reported that one of the six had been the gator responsible for killing Lane.
A report from The Daily Mail said that Disney guest Shawna Giacomini had warned park staff about a gator just 45 minutes before Lane was attacked. Several other guests also told The Daily Mail they reported gator sightings — including one photographer who had snapped a picture of the gator hours earlier, then saw Lane playing near the water's edge. He was walking toward Lane's mother to warn her when the gator attacked, reported The Daily Mail.
Early criticisms of the stone wall around the lagoon say that, while it may make it more difficult for people to get to the water, it won't pose much of a challenge for gators, as People pointed out. The wall is more of a pile of stones, which would be difficult for a child or even an adult to trod, but would be fairly easy for an alligator to scale if they saw something of interest on the shore. Disney did not immediately respond to Romper's request for comment regarding the height of the wall and whether animal control or another expert was consulted before it being built.
The Graves family chose not to sue Disney, but instead started the Lane Thomas Foundation, which they hope will help "keep his spirit alive." After his death, the Graves family released a statement on their church's website, asking the public to respect their privacy as they grieved.
The Graves are from Nebraska and have another child, a 4-year-old daughter named Ella. Lane would have turned 3 on Sept. 3.