ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - Four years later, a family is fighting to be sure other families do not suffer the tragedy they did after their six-year-old son, Qwentyn Hunter, drowned in the mid-ship pool on the Carnival Victory.
Qwentyn was at the pool with other family members when he drowned. Health officials tried to use a defibrillator on him, but unfortunately, they were not successful.
"This was a tragic accident, and our thoughts and prayers remain with his family and all those affected by his death," says Carnival's Vice President of Corporate Communication, Jennifer de la Cruz.
What is most important to the family now is that other families and cruise lines do something to prevent this from happening to someone else.
The family is also contributing towards these efforts by starting the Qwentyn Hunter Love Foundation, which will bring awareness to water safety and help children get swim lessons. The foundation realizes how important it is to teach parents and children how to act when they're around the water, especially if something troublesome happens.
The foundation also aims to distribute financial aid to families who lose their children to drowning so that they can afford counseling, funeral arrangements, and more.
Carnival Cruise Line states that they committed to providing a safe and enjoyable environment for all of our guests in all aspects of their cruise experience. This includes pool safety, which we have always taken very seriously.
However, Carnival believes it is important to know that vigilance and awareness, especially by parents of young children, is clearly proven to be the best means for ensuring safety when using water facilities such as pools and waterparks. Carnival will still continue to train their employees on water safety, CPR, and first aid as well as being prepared to initiate proactive intervention. This is not a substitute for parental supervision, but rather an adjunct.
Carnival has "recently established two dedicated water safety management roles in our fleet – one shoreside position and one traveling position – to maintain a close audit on our continuing operations."
All Carnival ships provide complimentary life vests for use. Upgraded safety nets, which are used when pools are closed, along with pool safety language in safety briefings and information cards on pool safety provided to parents of younger children.
Carnival Cruise Lines extends their heartfelt condolences to the Hunter family.
The family's attorney has issued the following response to Carnival:
"Florida Maritime Attorney Michael Winkleman represents the Hunters in their current case against Carnival and he says Carnival's statement doesn't go far enough. Winkleman says, "No doubt our crusade is to keep fighting to get lifeguards on all these ships! The signage on Carnival cruise ships is the same as it’s been for years on all cruise ships and it’s this tiny, tiny fine print. Unless you were actively searching it out, you’d never know there weren’t lifeguards on duty. If you can put one person at the pool to keep an eye on kids, how much could that possibly cost and how could you ever compare that to the life of a child?"