By Sarah Begley
June 15, 2016

Officials believe the 2-year-old boy dragged underwater by an alligator in Orlando on Tuesday night is likely dead.

In a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said there was “no question” the child had died in the intervening 15 hours since the attack. “It certainly is not survivable at this point for him to be submerged for this period of time.”

Demings said the operation would now be devoted to recovering the boy’s body. “Our ultimate goal is to try to bring some closure to the family by recovering their loved one.”

The boy was in the shallows of a manmade lake near Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa when the incident occurred, and Demings said there was a sign in the area indicating it was a no-swimming zone. “Disney has operated here now for 45 years,” Demings said, “and they’ve never had this type of thing happen before.” He says the company has an active program to euthanize alligators that appear in the water, and that it has been doing what it can to make the family comfortable during this operation.

Divers have been in the water searching for the child, and sonar technology has been deployed. Sheriff Demings expects there will be another press conference around 6 p.m., if not sooner, in which the victim and family will be identified.

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