Workers at a Walt Disney World resort are erecting a fence at the beach where an alligator attacked a 2-year-old boy earlier this week, dragging him to his death.
Photos shared on social media Friday showed crews putting up posts and ropes, apparently to block guests from getting too close to the water at the Grand Floridian Resort.
A gator described as being as long as 7 feet snatched 2-year-old Lane Graves as he waded in the shallow water there around nightfall Tuesday. The beach, located across a lake from the Magic Kingdom, had “no swimming” signs but no warning about alligators.
Disney said Thursday it would close its beach areas add gator warnings, but had not mentioned anything specifically about a fence.
The statement by Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahler said the company also was conducting a “swift and thorough review of all of our processes and protocols.”
While it’s an unwritten rule for Florida residents to keep small children away from ponds and lakes in a state with an alligator population estimated at more than 1 million, many out-of-state visitors aren’t aware of threat posed by the reptiles.
Kadie Whalen of Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, said her three young children and niece were playing on a resort beach at the water’s edge four years ago when the beady eyes of a 7-foot gator appeared in a lake just a few feet away. She screamed and everyone scattered.
No one was hurt, but after her experience, this week’s fatal alligator attack didn’t surprise her.
“We knew that Disney was aware that this was a problem, and yet they encourage people to be there,” Whalen said Thursday in a telephone interview.
A New Hampshire man recalled being attacked by an alligator at the nearby Fort Wilderness campground 30 years ago when he was a boy.
State wildlife officials say Disney has an active alligator monitoring program and an open permit to trap alligators on its properties that are deemed to be a nuisance.
Five alligators were removed from the lake during the search for the child, whose body was found in the water Wednesday.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.