A lawyer who says he warned Walt Disney officials about alligators lurking on their properties a year ago has spoken out following the fatal reptile attack this week, THE DAILY MAIL reports.
San Diego attorney David Hiden said he vacationed at the Orlando, Florida resort with his family in April 2015 when his five-year-old son was nearly attacked by a gator. He told CBS News that his son was wading in about calf-deep water in a lagoon behind their hotel when he saw a six-to seven-foot alligator approach.
‘I saw something rapidly coming on like a submarine,’ Hiden said. ‘And I look and I went, “Oh my god. That’s an alligator.”‘
Hiden grabbed his son out of the water and took him to safety. When he looked back at the water, he noticed a second alligator lurking nearby.
The Coronado Springs Resort is located three-and-a-half miles away from the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, where two-year-old Lane Graves was snatched and drowned by an alligator on Tuesday.
The Walt Disney World Resort was aware of an ongoing problem of guests feeding alligators and had ignored staff requests to put protective fences in place, TheWrap has learned.
Numerous employees at the theme park expressed anxiety to management about guests feeding the animals within the past 14 months, an insider with knowledge of the resort told TheWrap.
The boy was also wading in the water – on a beach where there were ‘no swimming’ signs posted, but no warnings about alligators in the lake.
After the brush with death, Hiden said he took a picture of one of the alligators that he saw and showed it to the hotel manager.
‘And the response, I couldn’t believe it,’ Hiden 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.”‘
Unsatisfied with the response, Hiden said he wrote a strongly-worded letter to the resort, warning them that he feared the worst would someday happen.
‘I said, “I hope I’m wrong, but at some point, I bet I’m going to read about you guys where one of your resident pets killed somebody. And I hope to god it never happens because it’s gonna be on your shoulders.'”
Lane Graves’ death was the first alligator fatality in the park’s 45-year history. Read more at THE DAILY MAIL.