It was one of the saddest stories of the year - the tragic death of a 2-year-old boy, taken by an alligator at a top Disney resort in Florida. Now horrifying new details of that day have emerged, with the father of little Lane Graves opening up about the incident that broke hearts around the world.
Far from being a one off, it appears a second alligator was involved during the tragedy, which took place near Disney's lakefront Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Devastated father Matt Graves told Captain Tom Wellons of the Reedy Creek Fire Department that a second animal attacked him as he tried to save his boy at a popular lake beach that had been filled with families.
Matt, who suffered lacerations during the attack, "refused to leave" the area, according to newly released documents. 'This incredibly sweet couple insisted on showing us pictures of their happy son. [The] mom kept referring to him as her 'happy boy,' " Wellons wrote in emails published today by The Orlando Sentinel. 'I am absolutely stunned ... '
Wellons related how on the way to get medical treatment at a nearby hospital, the father shared 'the horror that he experienced' and 'how another gator attacked him as he fought for his son.'
According to the emails, a witness confirmed a second alligator attacked the father.
While signs were posted at the beach advising people not to swim, before the attack there were no specific warnings about alligators. Since the news broke, previous holidaymakers who've stayed in the area have alleged there was a relaxed attitude from some local hotel staff about the risk of alligator attack.
Lawyer David Hinden told CBS News that his five year old son was almost snatched by an alligator at Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort. He claims a resort manager was dismissive when he reported the incident.
'The response, I couldn't believe it,' Hinden said. 'It was, "Those are resident pets, and we've known about them for years. And they're harmless, they're not going to attack anybody."'
The news that a second alligator was involved now looks set to inflame debate about whether the danger posed to tourists has been underplayed.