A 6-year-old boy from Orange County drowned while on board the Carnival Victory cruise ship over the weekend.
The Miami-Dade Police Department said Qwentyn Hunter, of Winter Garden, was found under the water in a pool aboard the ship. Investigators said Qwentyn was playing in the pool with his 10-year-old brother.
Passengers immediately pulled him Qwentyn out of the pool and began CPR, but the child was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Miami-Dade Police Department is investigating and said the incident appears to be accidental, and they did not suspect foul play.
Hunter was a first grade student at SunRidge Elementary in Winter Garden.
Neighbors said he was always smiling, even as he got on and off the school bus every day.
“He always was helpful and just a joy to be around. It’s heartbreaking,” said Amy Terry, who lives near Hunter’s family.
Sandi Discuillo has children the same age as Qwentyn and said she can’t imagine what his family is going through.
“You just take every day for granted and you don’t know how you’re going to go on after this," Discuillo said. "The only wish I have for his parents are if they could just hug him one more time.”
Qwentyn’s family has not spoken with the media and are expected back in Central Florida later in the week. The school district said notices have been sent to families of SunRidge Elementary.
Grief counselors will be at the school through the rest of the week.
The Carnival Victory ship was on the last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise on Sunday when the boy drowned. The ship arrived Monday morning at Port Miami.
Carnival Cruise Lines released the following statement Monday:
"Yesterday, Oct. 13, on board the Carnival Victory, while the ship was at sea on the last leg of a four-day Caribbean cruise, a six-year-old boy drowned in the midship pool. He was at the pool area with other family members at the time.
Carnival extends its heartfelt sympathy to the family during this very difficult time. The company's CareTeam is providing assistance and support."
The Carnival Victory is homeported in Miami. Its passenger capacity is 2,758, with an onboard crew of 1,100.