Newly Released Video Shows Disney Employee Warding Off Alligator from Splash Mountain
It was not immediately clear when the incident occurred
Newly released video shows a Disney World employee warding off a small alligator, just feet from guests riding on Splash Mountain.
The incident, from 2009, was obtained by Inside Edition and has come to light days after the death of a 2-year-old boy, who was grabbed and dragged into the water by an alligator in a lagoon at one of Disney’s resorts, in Orlando, Florida.
In the Splash Mountain video, a Disney employee is seen poking the alligator with a pool stick in an apparent attempt to drive it back into the water.
It appears the gator had surfaced just feet from where guests were riding on Splash Mountain, according to the video.
While it was not immediately clear when the incident took place, a source tells PEOPLE that alligators are not an uncommon sight near the popular Disney ride.
“There have been several times that we’ve had to shut down Splash Mountain for a bit because we had to get a gator out of the track,” the source says. “Often, there are gators in the water under the boardwalk walkway between Frontier Land and Tom Sawyer Island.
“There’s no way the alligators can get onto the boardwalk, but some people go as far as to feed them. ‘Oh, there’s an alligator. Let’s give him some of our corndog.’ ”
Florida wildlife officials have previously said Disney employees "routinely" remove alligators from the same area where the boy, Lane Graves, was snatched Tuesday, as his father desperately tried to save him.
“They have a full-time staff observing these waters and they have essentially an open permit system where any time they see an alligator or a complaint is called in, it can be taken out,” Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, said at a press conference Wednesday, according to KETV.
Since Graves’ death, some people have criticized Disney for failing to post clear signage about the alligator danger, unlike at a nearby resort.
“We didn’t know there weren’t any signs like they have here, ‘Beware of Alligators,’ ” Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress guest Chloe Giles, 21, told PEOPLE.
“We thought they had a big sign like they have here: ‘Beware of Alligators,’ ” she said.
On Friday, Disney resort officials announced they would be installing new warning signs around the water, as well as erecting temporary barriers.
The new signs read, in red and white: “DANGER. ALLIGATORS AND SNAKES IN AREA. STAY AWAY FROM THE WATER. DO NOT FEED THE WILDLIFE.”
Disney is “working on permanent, long-term solutions at our beaches,” officials said in a statement obtained by PEOPLE.
“We continue to evaluate processes and procedures for our entire property, and, as part of this, we are reinforcing training with our cast for reporting sightings and interactions with wildlife and are expanding our communication to guests on this topic.”
• With reporting by DEVAN LESLEY and SIOBHAN MORRISEY