Disney honours two-year-old boy killed by alligator at park

Image source, Facebook: Lane Thomas Foundation
Image caption,
The lighthouse was installed nearby to where the June 2016 attack occured

Walt Disney World has unveiled a lighthouse memorial for a young boy who was killed by an alligator while on holiday at the Florida theme park.

Two-year-old Lane Thomas Graves had been playing in the sand near the resort's Seven Seas Lagoon when he was dragged underwater by the creature.

His parents and older sister had been visiting the Grand Floridian resort in June 2016 from the state of Nebraska.

The lighthouse has been installed near to where the attack occurred.

Wildlife officials classified the killing as a predatory attack, saying the boy did nothing to provoke the alligator.

Image source, Facebook
Image caption,
Lane Thomas Graves' father tried in vain to free him from the jaws of the alligator

"He was in the water not more than ankle deep," the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said in a report, describing how the boy had been gathering water for a sandcastle.

His father, Matt Graves, jumped in the water to try to pry open the creature's mouth, but "the alligator thrashed and broke Matt's grasp and went under the water," according to the report.

A Disney spokesperson said they hoped the monument would spread awareness for the Lane Thomas Foundation, which also uses the lighthouse as its logo.

"The lighthouse sculpture has been installed to help spread awareness of the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was established to provide assistance and support to families whose children need organ transplants," Walt Disney World said in a statement.

After the death, Disney was criticised for not having posted signs warning of the danger along the man-made lagoon, which borders Magic Kingdom.

Public notices have now been added to the area, Florida media report.

The Lane family announced a month after the boy's death that they would not sue Disney, and would instead "solely be focused on the future health of our family".

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