LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Walt Disney World has unveiled a statue to honor a young boy who was killed by an alligator at their Grand Floridian Resort last summer.
On June 14, 2016, 2-year-old Lane Thomas Graves, of Nebraska, was playing near the resort’s Seven Seas Lagoon with parents Matt and Melissa Graves, as well as his 4-year-old sister, when he was dragged into the water by an alligator. His father jumped in after Lane in an attempt to pry the boy from the gator’s jaws, though he was ultimately unsuccessful. Lane’s body was recovered by dive teams and his causes of death were cited as drowning and traumatic injuries.
Disney has now installed a lighthouse sculpture in Lane’s memory. The sculpture will also serve as a symbol of the Lane Thomas Foundation — a charitable organization established by Lane’s family following their horrific tragedy — which too uses a lighthouse as its logo.
“The lighthouse sculpture has been installed to help spread awareness of the Lane Thomas Foundation, which was established to provide assistance and support to families whose children need organ transplants,” read a statement from Walt Disney World.
Following Lane’s death, Disney World officials were criticized for their failure to provide proper warning signage along the lagoon. Disney has since installed proper warning signs for alligators.