Search for missing teen in pond known to have alligators

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Florida Fish and Wildlife officers are in Orange County, searching a missing teenager last seen thrashing in a pond off of Regan Avenue, near Goldenrod Road and Colonial Drive.

Eric Wolf lives nearby and told FOX 35 that he last saw the young man in the pond, which is known to have alligators. Wolf said he was standing in his backyard making phone calls when he heard splashing and screaming. He said he saw a young Hispanic man thrashing around in the retention pond behind his house yelling, “It bit me! It bit me!”

“'Something bit me!' and a lot of thrashing around,” Wolf said. “And that’s all he kept yelling. Then he disappeared under the water.”

Wolf said he ran to get his binoculars to get a closer look, and that’s when he said the teen went under the water and never surfaced.  Wolf said he called 911 around 11:55 a.m. and emergency responders were on the scene within eight minutes.

“I was keeping eyes on him with the binoculars and I saw him sink under the water and unfortunately he did not resurface,” Wolf said. 

Orange County Fire Rescue has multiple boats on the lake to search for the missing teen.  Several hours after the 911 call was made, there is still no sign of the missing swimmer.

“Could have been a simple drowning, but there’s also a lot of alligators,” Wolf said. “At least four alligators in this lake. There’s a big male that hangs out in that area.”

Officials said they found a shirt and a shoe next to the water. The teenage boy was not wearing a shirt when he was last seen swimming. 

“Hopefully I didn’t see what I saw and it’s not a tragic incident,” Wolf said. “If it is God be with him.”

Wolf said the county fenced off the area and put up no trespassing signs so that no one could gain access to this body of water. 

Investigators said they could be out here for days, promising they will be out here as long as it takes to find the missing teenage boy.