A young passenger, reportedly a 10-year-old girl, drowned in a swimming pool aboard NCL's Norwegian Gem while the cruise ship was 75 miles east of Myrtle Beach yesterday afternoon.
I first learned of the incident on Twitter from CNBC's @RyanRuggiero who tweeted "The Coast Guard is investigating a death that occurred aboard the Norwegian Gem off the coast of NC. The investigation is still ongoing." He mentioned that the death involved a child drowning on the Gem.
This incident will rekindle the debate whether cruise lines should employ lifeguard their ships.
There have been a number of drownings and near-drownings of minors on cruise ships in the last couple of years.
This is not the first time a child has drowned on a NCL cruise ship.
Last year, two small children were pulled from a pool on NCL's Norwegian Breakaway as the cruise ship was sailing from New York to the Bahamas. Both children were unresponsive. The younger child (age 4) died on the cruise ship. The other child (age 6) was medevaced by the Coast Guard. Read our article: Drowning Tragedy Aboard the Norwegian Breakaway: Where Are the Lifeguards?
All of the major cruise lines without lifeguards have seen children killed or seriously injured in the cruise ship swimming pools. You can read about the incidents:
A four year old on the Royal Caribbean Oasis of the Seas January 2015.
A six year old on Carnival Victory October 2014
A six year old boy on Royal Caribbean Independence of the Seas May 2014.
A four year old on Disney Fantasy March 2013.
The child on the Disney cruise ship was permanently and seriously injured. Disney paid a multi-million dollar settlement and began employing lifeguards on its ships. No other cruise lines have followed Disney's lead.
Inclined to always blame the parents and give the cruise line a pass? Think again. Read: Imperfect Parents & Corporate Irresponsibility: Why No Lifeguards on Disney Cruise Ships?
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Photo credit: Captain-Tucker via Wikipedia Creative Commons 3.0