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Disney was warned of gator danger prior to deadly attack

Ohio parents are likely aware of the horrific alligator attack that killed a 2-year-old boy at Disney World in June. According to media reports, employees warned Disney that alligators were a problem around the lagoon prior to the deadly incident and asked that a fence be erected to protect guests.

The attack happened at the Seven Seas Lagoon, which is near Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Grand Floridian Hotel. There were "No Swimming" signs posted along the shoreline, but no protective fences to keep guests from accessing the water. Over the last 14 months, numerous employees reportedly told park management that gators were often seen swimming near the shore and hotel guests regularly fed them.

The 2-year-old victim was wading in shallow water when an alligator grabbed him and pulled him in deeper. His body was recovered around 10 to 15 yards from the site of the attack the following day. Authorities believe he drowned, though an official cause of death has not yet been released.

A former Disney executive told a Florida newspaper that it is difficult to keep gators out of the park's lagoons because all bodies of water on the property are connected by canals. Legal observers say that Disney could face a multimillion-dollar lawsuit for wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Property owners are required to keep their premises free of hazardous conditions. When a person who has a right to be on the premises is injured or killed as a result, the owner could be held financially responsible for the resulting losses through a lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim by an attorney who has experience in premises liability litigation.

Source: The Wrap, "Gator Attack: Disney Knew of Problems, Staffer Asked for Fence at Lagoon (Exclusive)," Matt Donnelly, June 15, 2016

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