[FONT='Times New Roman', Times, serif]Jon Goss
[FONT='Times New Roman', Times, serif]August 2, 2008
In an incident that leaves more questions, than producing answers, Jon Goss, age 16 from Maine, says he rescued a boy while he was a 7-day Alaskan Cruise.
Goss says the boy he saw laying on the bottom of the pool was only 8-years-old and nobody had noticed his body on the bottom of the pool.
Goss was in the shallow end and had waded over to the deep end of a cruise ship pool that had a water slide, when he looked over and saw a child laying face-down on the bottom of the pool.
When the teen saw the child, he looked around and nobody was doing anything. Since Goss had recently received his life guard certification, he did exactly what he was trained to do, dive to the bottom of the pool and pull the child to safety.
But, pulling the boy to safety was not as simple as is sounds. When Goss brought the child to the surface, he was limp and not breathing, his lungs filled with water.
At that point as the story goes, Goss yelled for somebody to help him. A female passenger who was nearby came over to Goss and the boy and asked if he was kidding. That passenger just happened to be a doctor. She assisted Goss in bringing the child to the deck of the ship.
This amazing story does not end here. It seems that the lady doctor, was married to and cruising with her husband who was a cardiovascular surgeon. The couple performed CPR on the boy until the cruise ship emergency team arrived to assist the boy.
Without the lifeguard and two doctors immediately on the scene, this boy would have died. There is no question there. He was extremely lucky.
The boy and his parents were disembarked in Seattle for follow-up care.
The obvious questions here are, why was a boy of only 8 years allowed on a water slide without supervision, why was he allowed in the pool unsupervised, and where was his family when this all took place?
There are really on two answers to these questions. First, we know the that no adult family members was in the deep end of the pool with the boy.
Second, we know that no cruise ship employee was nearby, as the two passengers who were doctors and a passenger lifeguard performed CPR for sometime before the crew were alerted.
There is one very important aspect of this case, I think it is important to convey. This incident happened on the first day of the cruise. The first day of the cruise as well as the last day of the cruise, weather aside, are the two most dangerous days on a voyage.
The reason for this is because the first day people are very excited. They have not gotten into a routine on the ship, have not fully explored the ship and not perhaps thinking clearly due the excitement of settling in. It is very easy on day one, to lose track of a child or other family members.
The last day of the cruise, people are preparing to go home, trying to cram in the last of their fun. Between the distraction of packing things up and squeezing in the last of the good times, people and dangers are over-looked.
These two days, the first and last day of the cruise, are the two days that most people disappear on a cruise. It is a combination of not being aware of dangers and too much fun that been the cause of the majority of these incidents.
This case is just another one of those examples. I have said it many times on this site and will likely say it many more times. Small children MUST be watched every minute of every day, kept within arm's reach every moment of every day, IF you choose to take them on a cruise. This is not a negotiable aspect of parenting and cruise ship travel.
A cruise ship is one of, if not the most dangerous place to take children on a family vacation. They can not be left unattended, nor left in the care of other people who have no emotional connection to the child.
This child was extremely lucky. To have not only a certified lifeguard in the pool with him, also vacationing, but two doctors pool-side on holiday, is a scenario that is one in a million. If not for that rare scenario, this story would be about a death.
Now, the most important thing on my mind at this point, is why is it, a cruise ship can not spend the extra few dollars to have a certified lifeguard pool-side on every ship?
While the industry will point to the fact that land-based properties do not have lifeguards supervising their pools, I will point to the fact that they DO have employees supervising water recreation areas such as the Flow Rider, as seen in this video.
Those employees not only hand out the boogie boards passengers used, but also assist the passengers while they attempt to ride the waves and do provide emergency assistance if passengers crash and burn AND they make sure children do not enter the Flow Rider.
Speeding down a waterslide can be, and IS every bit as dangerous as the Flow Rider. This is why land-based water amusement parks DO have employees supervise not only the top of the waterslide, but are in the water and the foot of the water slide as well.
A pool with a water slide is a kid magnet, a disaster just waiting to happen. It needs supervision. When a boy age 16 is left to do what more than one adult should have done, something is definately broke and needs to be fixed.
This boy is a hero, and I don't want to take away from that fact. But, when a 16-year-old boy becomes the hero of an 8-year old boy, while they are surrounded by thousands of adults, more than one thing has gone wrong. The next child will not be as lucky as this one was.