Six-year-old boy drowns on board Carnival cruise ship

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(CNN) — A 6-year-old central Florida boy drowned in a pool on a Carnival Cruise ship over the weekend after hasty efforts to resuscitate him failed, the cruise line said Monday.

The boy, of Winter Garden just outside of Orlando, was spotted under water in a mid-ship pool by passengers Sunday, according to a police report and one witness account. It occurred when the ship was returning from its last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise.

Passenger Deshaun Christian, 23, who witnessed the rescue, told CNN iReport that the incident caught people, enjoying music and dancing, off-guard.

Christian said a DJ first discovered the boy struggling in the water and immediately stopped the music. A guest then jumped into the pool with his clothes on and pulled the boy out, followed by a crew member who unsuccessfully tried to revive the boy, Christian said. The boy was pronounced dead shortly after.

“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,” Christian said.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said it is still investigating the drowning, which appeared to be accidental. A police statement said the boy was in the pool with his 10-year-old brother when he was found submerged.

“There were a lot of adults, but why wasn’t anyone watching the kids?” asked Christian, who was traveling with his family. “You’d think Carnival would have lifeguards around the pool.”

In an e-mail to CNN, Carnival Cruise spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said the company does not have lifeguards on duty at its pools, and parental supervision is required for children under 13.

The ship left the Port of Miami Thursday and returned on Monday.

The latest incident may revive discussions about water safety for pre-teens and adolescents.

In March, a 13-year-old Missouri boy died two days after he was pulled from the bottom of a swimming pool at a Disney resort in Florida. No lifeguards were on duty at the time; signs warning that swimmers swam at their own risk were posted.

Ten people die every day from unintentional drowning in the United States, making it the fifth-leading cause of unintentional injury death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 20% are under the age of 14. Nearly 80% are male, the CDC says.

Carnival has had a string of problems with some of its ships this year. In February, an engine fire on the Carnival Triumph caused power outages, overflowing toilets and food shortages. In separate incidents in March, the Carnival Legend had propulsion system problems, hampering its sailing speed during a cruise; and the Carnival Dream lost power and some toilets stopped working temporarily.

In November 2010, a fire in the Carnival Splendor engine room crippled the cruise ship, stranding passengers off the coast of Mexico for several days without air conditioning or hot showers.

2 comments

  • Wizard of OZ

    Careless parents! Of course the vulture lawyers will want them to blame Carnival and sue for millions. All losers!

  • Chris

    Situation very sad. I have been on 14 Carnival cruises and love them a lot! My 10 year old has been on 6 and is MY responsility. I love how the witness did not jump in, and was on the last leg of the trip when the tragedy took place to say “I can’t believe they do not have lifeguards”. They never had lifeguards at the beginning of the week and it didn’t keep people and kids out of the pool then.

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