CNN reports that the 6-year-old boy was swimming with his 10-year-old brother at the time of the incident while their fellow passengers were dancing to music around the pool. According to passenger Deshaun Christian, the boy apparently began struggling underwater and was noticed by a DJ, who immediately cut the music and yelled, alerting passengers and staff. A fully clothed passenger then jumped into the pool to drag the boy out, while an employee of the ship attempted to resuscitate him. Sadly, they were too late, and the boy died.
Deshaun Christian told CNN, "It was a lot of chaos, people were going crazy, people were praying, they had their hands to the sky. It was a scary scene, seeing a little boy just lifeless.” He added, "There were a lot of adults, but why wasn't anyone watching the kids? You'd think Carnival would have lifeguards around the pool."
The Miami Dade police say they are investigating the incident but believe it to be accidental. A spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines released the following statement: “Carnival extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family during this very difficult time. The company's CareTeam is providing assistance and support."
In a follow-up email to CNN, a company spokesperson explained that Carnival does not have lifeguards on duty at its pools. “Parental supervision is required for children under 13,” she said.
If you’ve ever been on a cruise, you know how much activity is going on at any given time. Everything from swimming to dancing to eating and a bunch of other activities, all of it happening simultaneously. This is exactly why a lot of folks probably feel it’s a great family vacation. You can let your kids roam a bit, but you still get to enjoy yourself. While we’re not overly surprised this tragedy occurred, we hope it will prompt cruise lines to develop some better safety strategies so it doesn’t happen again, and that parents will now be a little more vigilant about supervising their kids.
Our thoughts are with this family during this difficult time.