A vacation ended in tragedy for a family who was visiting Atlanta, Georgia, from Charlotte, North Carolina, when a 5-year-old boy, identified as Charlie Holt, was crushed to death at a popular rotating restaurant atop the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, CNN reports.
At around 3:20 p.m. on April 14, Charlie and his family decided to have lunch at the Sun Dial restaurant, a rotating restaurant that gives their customers a panoramic view of downtown Atlanta, although they were not staying at the hotel.
The family was among the “last customers for the lunch crowd,” said Warren Pickard, a spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department.
Pickard went on to say that while the child’s family was having lunch, he wandered 4 to 5 feet away and ended up at another table.
— CNN (@CNN) April 15, 2017
When the restaurant began to rotate, the boy’s head somehow became caught between the rotating floor and a wall, prompting the floor to stop as it was designed to do if something were to become caught.
“We simply think he lost sight of his parents and panicked and found himself in that situation,” Pickard said. “A small child doesn’t know what to do in those moments, and it crushed his little small body.”
When the boy’s family discovered that his head had been trapped, they rushed to his aide, as well as staff and patrons at the rotating restaurant, in a bid to save the boy’s life.
“The number of people who were helping was amazing,” Pickard said. “They were moving furniture, they were pulling chairs—chairs that were bolted to the floor—they were pulling them up to try to get the child out.”
When emergency responders arrived at the rotating restaurant, they rushed Charlie — who was unconscious — to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he later died from a head injury.
Pickard said the boy’s death was “very tragic.”
However, he was reluctant to say whether an incident has happened like that before, but recent reports state that the boy’s death comes a year after a 61-year-old woman, Carolyn Robinson, a kitchen worker, died at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel after getting locked inside a walk-in freezer around 8 p.m. on March 22.
Authorities say they do not suspect foul play in the employees’ death, but they were going to review videos to ascertain if “Robinson may have entered the freezer in the lower level kitchen area.”
“We’re still combing through the video just to make sure that there’s nothing else going on,” said Atlanta police Lt. Charles Hampton. “She worked in the culinary department of the hotel, so it would appear that she had a reason to be inside the freezer.”
That same year, a 10-year-old boy, Stephen Akinlabi, died after falling into the pool at the same Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel.
Five-year-old boy CRUSHED to death at popular rotating restaurant in Atlanta https://t.co/slkY0V7Xq8
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) April 15, 2017
George Reed, the manager at the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, released the following statement:
“There was a tragic accident at the hotel involving a young boy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
“As soon as we learned of the accident, we immediately responded until emergency personnel arrived. We are working with the authorities as they look into this tragic accident and we will continue to assist them in any way we can. Words cannot express the depths of our sorrow. Our thoughts remain with the family.”
According to a spokesperson for the boy’s family, “The family asks for prayers and privacy right now to come to terms with the tragedy. No words can express their loss. If you have a loved one, please give them an extra hug today.”
After the boy was crushed to death, the Sun Dial rotating restaurant closed its doors and will reopen on Monday, according to a guest service representative.
The investigation is ongoing.
[Featured Image by Felix Mizioznikov/Shutterstock]