16-Year-Old Cruise Passenger Fell to His Death From Cabin Balcony
A teenager died Friday morning when he fell from the cabin balcony of a cruise ship. The ship, Royal Caribbean's Harmony of the Seas, was docked in Labadee, Haiti, at the time.
Authorities believe Laurent Mercer, 16, had misplaced his room key on Jan. 11, the day of the accident. Instead of looking for a replacement key, Mercer attempted to access his room through the balcony from an adjacent balcony. In the process, he lost his footing and fell onto the pier, according to the Broward Medical Examiner's Office in Port Everglades, Florida.
The medical examiner's office issued a statement, saying, "The ship’s medical team responded to the pier and attempted CPR, but the [boy] had sustained major head trauma and he was pronounced dead” at 11:42am. Haiti local authorities also reportedly responded to the scene and determined that no crime had occurred, but did not issue a death certificate. Mercer's body was instead transported back onto the ship, and turned over to the medical examiner's office Sunday, Jan. 13.
A number of passengers turned to Twitter and Facebook to report the accident, with at least two eyewitnesses reporting that they saw him fall. Fellow passenger Jaclyn Syroney said in a Facebook comment, “I was on the cruise and saw him hit the concrete dock. It was around 11:30 a.m. The workers were amazingly fast acting and tried to keep him alive, but I’m pretty sure he was dead on impact. There were also fast acting of removing his body and covering up the area so people wouldn’t see it. Royal Caribbean handled this situation with utmost respect for the passenger and the family.”
Mercer, who comes from the French island Wallis and Futuna in the South Pacific, was vacationing with his family on a Western Caribbean tour. Labadee, where Royal Caribbean owns a private resort, was the first stop on the seven-day route.
“We are saddened by the loss of one of our guests in a tragic accident," Owen Torres, manager of corporate communications for Royal Caribbean, told TPG in an emailed statement.