Terrifying Final Moments of Toddler Snatched by Gator Revealed

Lane Graves' father stuck his hands in the animal's mouth
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2016 4:13 PM CDT
Updated Aug 23, 2016 1:11 AM CDT
Dad Stuck Hands in Disney Gator's Mouth in Frantic Effort to Save Son
In this Friday, June, 17, 2016 photo released by Walt Disney World Resort, a new sign is seen posted on a beach outside a hotel at a Walt Disney World resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.   (Walt Disney World Resort via AP)

The Orange County Sheriff's Office released a report Monday officially declaring the death of 2-year-old Lane Graves, who was grabbed by an alligator at Florida's Walt Disney World in June, an accident. The report also reveals the terrifying details of the toddler's final minutes of life: Lane, who was trying to build a sandcastle on the shore of the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, leaned over to put wet sand into his bucket. Then his father, Matt Graves, heard a splash and saw an alligator grabbing Lane's head, the Orlando Sentinel reports. "I saw it come out to get him," Matt Graves told investigators, per Time.

Matt Graves pulled on the alligator's snout, but he couldn't get Lane away before the gator pulled the boy underwater and swam off with him. The gator "just took off," Graves told investigators. A lifeguard heard screams and saw the gator with Lane as much as 25 feet from shore, and Matt Graves with blood "all over the right side of his face and right hand," per the report. Graves went to a local medical center and was found to have cuts on his hand from the gator's teeth, as well as scratches on his foot. The report also notes that at least one witness passed out after the gator attack, and another was so upset more than a day later that deputies offered counseling services. (More Disney World stories.)

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