Police are searching for a child who was snatched by an alligator near Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park in Florida. alligThe two-year-old boy was paddling in a foot of water on a beach beside the Seven Seas Lagoon at 9pm when the animal attacked and dragged him away.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said: “The father was there nearby and the alligator came up and attacked. The father struggled and tried to get his son and was not successful and he alerted others nearby to assist him.” The boy’s mother also tried to rescue him.

Police have cordoned off the area near the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa while boats and a helicopter search the 14ft-deep man-made lagoon which is bordered by three holiday resorts and sand beaches.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahaler said everyone at the resort was devastated and that Disney is helping the family. When asked if the resort was aware of alligators on the property, Ms Wahaler advised there were signs that said “no swimming”.