Walt Disney World has closed beaches at its Florida resorts while rescuers search a lagoon for the body of a two-year-old boy who was snatched off the shore by an alligator.

Authorities have said the child is presumed dead, with local police also indicating that the incident was "not survivable".

Wildlife officials have removed four alligators from the water and cut them open, but they found no sign of the boy.

A Disney representative said the entertainment giant is closing beaches "out of an abundance of caution".

After 15 hours of searching, officials said they planned to continue looking for the child's body.

Wildlife officials said the attack was a rarity in a state with an alligator population estimated at around one million, but it still left visitors shaken in a city built on tourism.

The family of four from Nebraska was on holiday at the Seven Seas Lagoon inside a Disney World resort around nightfall on Tuesday when the child waded no more than 2ft into the water before being taken from a small beach.

The boy's father desperately tried to save him, suffering lacerations to the hand, but was unable to pull the child free. Neither could a lifeguard, who was nearby.

"No swimming" signs had been posted at the beach, but the child was wading, not swimming.

Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said there have been no other similar alligator attacks on the lake.

Nick Wiley, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said witnesses estimated the alligator at between 4ft and 7ft in length. He said none of the four alligators removed from the water showed any signs of having been in contact with the boy.

The beach area where the animal grabbed the child is part of the luxury Grand Floridian resort, across the lake from Disney's Magic Kingdom theme park.

The man-made lake stretches about 200 acres and reaches a depth of 14ft. The lake feeds into a series of canals that wind through the entire Disney property.

More than 50 law enforcement personnel searched the well-tended lagoon along with an alligator tracker and marine units equipped with sonar to search the lake's sandy, mostly flat bottom. Divers are available if needed.

Though Florida has grown to be the third-most populous state, fatal alligator attacks remain rare.

There have been 23 fatalities caused by wild alligators in Florida since 1973, according to data compiled by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Those fatalities were among 383 unprovoked bites not caused by someone handling or intentionally harassing an alligator.

Eight children, aged two to 16, are among the fatalities.

Five died while swimming in lakes, rivers and canals. The youngest victims were killed near lakes, including a two-year-old girl who wandered 700ft from her fenced backyard and a three-year-old boy who left a roped-off swimming area in a county park to pick lily pads.

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