A young girl from Puerto Rico who was visiting Aruba with her parents during a Royal Caribbean cruise was seriously injured during an ATV accident over the weekend.
Jednniely Perez Rivas, age 7, suffered extensive injuries on August 17, 2018 during an accident while traveling in an off-road vehicle which her parents rented during their cruise. The local media in Aruba reported that the young girl was in an ATV with her mother when the vehicle was involved in an accident with a van. The girl was ejected and sustained severe injuries to her leg and foot.
Another cruise passenger, identified as retired NYPD officer Sean Whelan, arrived at the scene of the accident and immediately administered emergency medical treatment to the child, who had reportedly lost a foot and was not breathing. Mr. Whelan used a towel as a tourniquet to stop the bleeding and performed CPR at the scene for twenty minutes until the girl began breathing again. He accompanied the girl to a local hospital and then arranged to pay $15,000 to fly the child to a pediatric hospital in San Juan hospital, once he learned that the family had no insurance. He then traveled with the injured child on the air ambulance from Aruba.
The family, from Puerto Rico (Bayamon), had booked two cabins on the Freedom of the Sea, including her parents and another sibling as well as two other family members.
Jednniely’s family called Officer Whelan a “guardian angel,” stating that “there are no words to thank him,” according to Telemundo in Pureto Rico.
The child was placed in a medically induced coma when she arrived in San Juan last Friday, but she is reportedly recovering from her injuries.
News stations in Puerto Rico and back in New York, where Mr. Whelan lives, recognized retired officer Whelan for his “Good Samaritan” acts of kindness and generosity to this family during their time of distress.
It is unknown whether the Rivas family purchased the ATV excursion independently or thorough the cruise line.
You can see photos and video of the accident scene here.
You can listen to Officer Whelan’s riveting account of saving the life of the young girl, who he considers “to be part of his family now.”
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Video: El Nuevodia; photo credit: Aruba Native / MrBodmod YouTube.