Qwentyn Hunter (pictured), 6, drowned in a pool aboard a Carnival Cruise Line vessel on Sunday while at sea during the last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise, according to CNN.
The Winter Garden, Fla., boy was reportedly in the pool with his 10-year-old brother and other members of his family when the ship’s DJ noticed the child struggling in the water. He immediately stopped the music and beelined towards the pool in an effort to save him.
Fully clothed, the DJ and others dived into the pool to help rescue the drowning boy.
Eyewitness Deshaun Christian, 23, watched the heroic efforts of the men as they tried desperately to save the boy’s life. The men’s efforts failed, as he could not be resuscitated. According to Christian, a kind of mass hysteria broke out after the child was pronounced dead.
“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 told CNN.
Now there is talk of whether the cruise ship should have had life guards on duty at the pool. But the cruise line, which has had its fair share of negative press in the not-too-distant past, is defending itself by stating that children should be watched by their caregivers at all times–particularly around pool areas.
In an e-mail to CNN on Monday, Carnival Cruise spokeswoman Joyce Oliva said in a statement:
“Carnival extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family during this very difficult time. The company’s CareTeam is providing assistance and support. Parental supervision is required for children under 13. In this case, there was a parent present at the time of the incident.”
Earlier this year, a 4-year-old boy nearly drowned in a pool aboard the Disney Fantasy a few hours before it was set to depart on a seven-day Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral.
Perhaps now is the time for the cruise ship line to revisit its position regarding life guards at their public pools.