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Florida boy, 6, drowns in Carnival cruise ship pool

Posted at 6:07 PM, Oct 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-10-14 18:07:39-04

(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, the Carnival Victory, 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.

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