FWC & Orange County Sheriff Offer Final Report on Alligator Attack

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FWC and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office have released their final reports regarding the death of Lane Graves on June 14, 2016.

Nick Wiley, FWC Director said, “We continue to pray for the Graves family. FWC would like to thank Disney and our partners at the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for the professional collaboration on this thorough investigation. Our agency will continue to work to keep families informed on how they can safely enjoy all that Florida has to offer.”

Here is the official synopsis of the report:

On June 14, 2016, at approximately 2100 hours, children were playing near the water’s edge at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. A witness, Matt Graves, heard a splash and saw an alligator bite his son’s head and pull him into the water. Mr. Graves was close enough to grab the alligator, putting his hands into the animal’s mouth. The alligator began to struggle and broke free from Mr. Graves, injuring his hands. The alligator disappeared into the water with the child. Multiple individuals called 911 for assistance. Fire Rescue personnel and law enforcement officers from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and Orange County Sheriff’s Office began a search of the area by land, air and water. The body of the missing child was located underwater by a patrol officer involved in the search and recovered by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office dive team in the Seven Seas Lagoon on the afternoon of June 15, 2016, submerged in approximately seven feet of water near where the initial attack had taken place. Six alligators were subsequently captured from the vicinity, euthanized, and had necropsies performed. Examination of the bite pattern on the victim’s body and an autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was injuries sustained from a severe alligator bite.

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About the author

Tom Corless

Tom has been regularly visiting the Walt Disney World® Resort from the time he was 4 months old. While he has made countless visits in the last 28 years, he did not become a truly active member in the Disney fan community until the summer of 2007, when he decided to launch the WDW News Today website and podcast. Tom has since become an Orlando-local and is a published author on Walt Disney World.
Contact Tom at [email protected]

8 Comments

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  • Well hopefully you can offer an apology to the family for the speculation you made in your podcast regarding the incident. I believe you stated that the father was inventing portions of his report, and that something there was “something fishy” about the family deciding not to sue.

      • Family got a confidential settlement. No lawsuit. Family not wise to let their child play there. Disney ignorant to build beaches on alligator and snake filled ponds. Disney greedy and cheap to not patrol them. The child (victim) and Tom aren’t to blame.

  • Good reporting Tom. Don’t be bullied.

    I completely understand it wasn’t wise for the guests to be there, and it’s a shame a tragedy from ignorance. However, Disney needs to own up that they have cut back so enormously on so many things that it’s become neglectful. They preach a good image on safety, but it ends at that image only. I get that profits are the only goal now they don’t give any concern about a good experience, but they never should have cut the funding, completely fired the staff who used to monitor this, and few operations for wildlife management (as well as many other areas that are a safety concern). That place shouldn’t have been built to look like a beach. The staff who used to monitor these areas are gone, if each individual doesn’t make revenue to Disney, they’re seen as a liability. They should not have built Hawaiian villas over the water for more profit. and ignored many warnings that people feed the gators there and environmentalists. There’s way more incidents of injuries than ever make it to press. Disney puts attention only on image and efficiency. Zero on safety and experience/value to the guest.

    • My wife and I are going to miss playing spot the gator at Disney Parks. Seeing the native wildlife was always a treat.

      That said, we know to keep our distance from wildlife and did not need obtrusive, terribly themed signage to keep us from entering what is clearly habitat.

      Disney World was conceived with a large conservation goal in mind, and I hope that this incident does not change that.

  • My wife and I are going to miss playing spot the gator at Disney Parks. Seeing the native wildlife was always a treat.

    That said, we know to keep our distance from wildlife and did not need obtrusive, terribly themed signage to keep us from entering what is clearly habitat.

    Disney World was conceived with a large conservation goal in mind, and I hope that this incident does not change that.

    • Disney has NEVER had conservation that I can think of, can you site any examples? They have worked on this as their public relations tag lines for advertising, but have in fact had a history of some amazing environmental messes at their hands in the name of making Money.