ORLANDO (CBSMiami) – A San Diego father is speaking out about the recent alligator attack in Florida that left a 2-year-old dead, saying his son suffered a nearly similar fate at Disney World last year.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department said searchers recovered the body of a 2-year-old Lane Graves who was snatched by an alligator at Walt Disney World.
The boy was attacked Tuesday night as he waded in the water at the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort.
San Diego attorney David Hiden says his little boy was approached by an alligator at the Coronado Springs Resort while he and his family were vacationing at a nearby Walt Disney World Resort property in the Orlando Area.
“He was playing, and looking for bugs and stuff. Then, all of a sudden, I looked past his head and I see this alligator, maybe 6 or 7 feet, bee-lining it straight for him.”
Hiden says that gator, which he later snapped a photo of, was about 10 or 15 yards away from his child when Hiden quickly snatched him to safety.
“And at this point, I looked to the left and there’s another alligator about the same size, but closer,” said Hiden.
Hiden says his son’s uncomfortably close encounter with two alligators could have had a far worse outcome.
“Had I been texting or taking photographs or not paying attention, the one on the left would probably have gotten my son,” said Hiden.
As unsettling as that experience was, Hiden was also shocked with the resort management’s reaction when Hiden informed them of his son’s potentially fatal experience.
“The manager couldn’t care less. I remember her words, ‘These are resident pets. They’ve known about them for years, they’re not dangerous, they’re not going to harm anybody,'” said Hiden. “I was very upset, very angry, very shocked and I say, ‘I hope to god I never read about a young kid killed by an alligator like that one almost did to my son.'”
In the wake of this week’s tragedy, a Disney spokesperson says that all of its resort beaches will remain off-limits to guests as Disney reviews its protocols, including signs and warnings.