At around 9:00 p.m. ET, a Nebraska couple watch their two-year-old son wade in the shallows of Walt Disney World's Seven Seas Lagoon at the Grand Floridian Hotel.
All of a sudden, the boy was snatched up by an alligator and dragged into the water.
"The father entered the water, and he tried to grab the child, but was not successful in doing so," Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told reporters during a press conference today.
The mother also went into the water to try and save her son.
The couple, who brought their 4-year-old daughter on the trip, alerted a nearby lifeguard who then called 911.
The father suffered only scratches while trying to remove the boy from the alligator's jaw.
“They [alligators] were probably attracted to some motion on the bank," executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Nick Wiley explained, according to USA Today.
“That’s the way they stalk their prey.”
Wiley added that the alligator could have mistaken the child for prey, as the reptile was likely feeding.
The lake is being searched by wildlife specialists, divers and a trained alligator trapper. Four alligators have been removed, but no traces of the child were found.
Demings told reporters this morning that this was still considered a "search and rescue operation," adding that he and all though involved in looking for the boy were "very hopeful.
“Sometimes you get the worst, but we are hoping for the best," he said.
As the search continued, Demings changed his tune.
The sad reality of it is it's been several hours, and we're not likely going to recover a live body," he said, according to CNN.
No Swimming signs are posted to all beach areas of the land-locked resort, which has never had an accident like this.