NASSAU – An eight-year-old Bahamian girl has died after falling from an interior balcony on a Carnival cruise ship docked at the port of Miami.
Investigators said the girl, whom The Tribune understands is Zion Smith, was on the deck of the Carnival Glory’s interior atrium, located two floors above the lobby, when she fell two storeys to a lower deck.
Emergency medical units responded and provided first aid to the child before rushing her to the Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Centre in “extremely critical condition”. She later died of her injuries.
The circumstances surrounding the child’s fatal fall remain unclear. Investigators are said to be working closely with the cruise line to try to establish exactly how the tragedy happened.
Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll said while the exact distance the girl fell had not been determined, it could have been anywhere between six and 15 meters, or 20 to 50 feet.
“All we know right now is that an eight-year-old girl was injured on the ship, life saving efforts were performed by Miami Dade Fire Rescue, and when the city arrived we assisted and we brought her here to the trauma centre in extremely critical condition,” Carroll said in an interview with Local 10 WPLG.
Carnival released a brief statement expressing condolences to the girl’s family, stating: “Our most heartfelt care and concern is with the family at this very difficult time.”
Various cruise ship passengers described the initial incident and the frantic rush to try and save Zion as very traumatic.
Tyrone McKelvey told 7 News that when the tragedy happened “people started screaming, people started running everywhere”.
“When we got down we saw the body on the ground and all the blood and what not,” he added. “It was very traumatizing and devastating.”
Another passenger, Raymond Kissim told 7 News: “You heard ‘Oh my baby, oh my baby’ and when you look she was down at the bottom.”
“It happened so fast. She just fell over, that’s all I see.”
“If she had landed on the couch, she probably would’ve had a chance,” passenger Vickie Lewis said. “But she didn’t. My heart goes out to the family.”
Bob Dorr, a retired emergency management technician (EMT), who was among the first to perform CPR on Zion until the doctor arrived, said she had “severe injuries” as a result of the fall.
“She had severe injuries, that’s all I want to say,” he said. “I started doing CPR until the doctor showed up and then the doctor took over.”
According to reports, Zion’s family had just completed a seven-day cruise aboard the Carnival Glory when it arrived in Port Miami around 8:15a.m. when the tragedy occurred. The ship was reportedly scheduled to depart from Florida at 4 p.m. on Saturday and travel to the Bahamas.