The parents of a two-year-old boy drowned by an alligator at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida last month “are broken” but will not sue over the incident, the couple said in a statement on Wednesday.
Lane Graves was playing at the edge of the Seven Seas Lagoon at the Walt Disney World’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa on June 14 when he was snatched by an alligator and dragged into the water. His parents rushed to save their child but failed to pry him free from the predator’s grip, as a second alligator attacked during the rescue attempt.
Graves, whose family was vacationing from Nebraska, was found by divers a day later at the bottom of the manmade lake.
“Melissa and I are broken. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane,” parents Matt and Melissa Graves said in the statement. “As each day passes, the pain gets worse.”
Despite their grief, the couple said they would focus on the development of a charitable foundation named after their son and would not file a lawsuit.
“In addition to the foundation, we will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney,” the parents said.
Walt Disney Co has had more than 240 “nuisance” alligators captured and killed over the last 10 years at its theme park property in Orange County, Florida.
At the time of the attack on Graves, the resort had “No Swimming” signs that did not mention alligators. Disney has since installed signs by the lagoon warning guests of alligators and snakes.
“Danger! Alligators and snakes in area,” read the new signs, which feature diagrams of the two animals. “Stay away from the water. Do not feed the wildlife.”
(Editing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)