A man visiting a Florida park in Pinellas County on Tuesday morning died after he was attacked by an alligator while he reportedly attempted to retrieve a frisbee.
According to Click Orlando and WTSP, a man visiting John S. Taylor Park, located at 1100 8th Avenue, SW, in Largo, Florida, was bitten by an alligator while he was in the park. The man reportedly entered the water in an attempt to retrieve a frisbee when the attack took place, according to detectives with the Largo Police Department.
Emergency crews were on the scene in response to the attack.
It was confirmed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that the man was bitten by an alligator, and police officers confirmed that he died at a local hospital following the attack.
According to the Largo Police Department, gator trappers have been dispatched to Taylor Lake. They are stressing to the public that people need to stay clear of the area for the time being.
The attack brings to mind an alligator attack that took place at the Walt Disney World Resort in 2016. Six years ago this week, a toddler who was playing with his family near the water at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort was attacked by an alligator.
The six-year anniversary of the death of two-year-old Lane Graves is approaching. In the almost six years since his death, the Walt Disney World Resort has taken steps to lessen the threat of further alligator attacks on Disney property.
Since 2016, Disney has erected signs all across Disney World property. The signs read, “Danger: Alligators and Snakes in Area; Stay away from the Water; Do not feed the wildlife.” The signs can be found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort near areas of water, not just at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.
Over the years, more than 220 alligators have been removed from Disney property through the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s statewide alligator harvest program. Through this program, trappers have removed or relocated wildlife at an increased rate within established guidelines.
In 2016, 83 alligators were removed, followed by 57 in 2017, 33 in both 2018 and 2019, and 46 in 2020. Most of the 2020 removals were carried out during the months of March, April, May, and June 2020, during the Walt Disney World Resort’s closure in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The highest number of alligators removed was in 2016, but before Lane’s passing, there weren’t nearly as many removals.
Training sessions regarding the dangers of the waters, the alligators, and snakes that inhabit the area, and how to keep Guests safe have also been implemented in Cast Member training and orientation.
Responsibility also lies with Guests at Disney and with anyone visiting Florida, especially in areas near water, including marshes and swamps. If you’re in Florida, it’s a good idea to keep away from the water’s edge, except in areas that are deemed safe to do so. Alligator attacks can happen anywhere at any time, and they happen very quickly, often with little or no notice–and no time to get to safety.
Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of the man who lost his life this morning.