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Father Was Attacked by Second Alligator as He Tried to Rescue Son Lane Graves at Disney World: Report

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The father of 2-year-old Lane Graves was attacked by a second alligator as he tried to fight to free his son from the jaws of the beast that snatched and dragged the boy under water at Walt Disney World last month, the toddler’s father told authorities.

Matt Graves was injured fighting to save his son’s life on June 16, but refused to leave the spot where Lane disappeared, according to an email sent by Reedy Creek Fire Department Captain Tom Wellons. The Orlando Sentinel obtained the emails as part of a public records request.

Wellons, in an email to two supervisors, said that after examining Matt Graves’ injuries, he finally convinced the Nebraska father to go to the hospital for stitches and antibiotics, according to the Sentinel.

Authorities said trappers killed five alligators in the Seven Seas Lagoon during the 16-hour search for Lane’s body and, though no positive identification on the offending alligator could be made, they announced that they are confident they caught the one that killed Lane.

Lane was wading in a foot of water outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa when he was grabbed by the alligator. At the time, there were “no swimming” signs posted at the shore, but no warning about alligators. The signs have since been updated to warn residents about gators and snakes.

Matt Graves told authorities that after Lane was snatched, he jumped in the water and tried to free his son from the jaws of the alligator, but the toddler slipped away. His body was found, intact, several hours after the attack.

The email from Wellons also described how much the couple cared for Lane and were shocked by his death.

“This incredibly sweet couple insisted on showing us pictures of their happy son,” Wellons wrote in an email, according to the newspaper. “(The) mom kept referring to him as her ‘happy boy.’ ”

The article originally appeared in PEOPLE.com

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