Local News

Charlotte boy, 5, dies from injury at rotating restaurant in Atlanta

Posted April 14

— A 5-year-old child has died after he sustained head injuries at a popular Atlanta tourist location Friday afternoon.

A spokesperson for Atlanta Police confirmed the boy was injured at the rotating restaurant at the top of the Westin hotel Peachtree Plaza around 3:20 p.m. in downtown Atlanta.

According to Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Warren Pickard, the boy and his family were visiting from Charlotte, N.C. and were at the restaurant for lunch.

The boy's parents were sitting at the table and the child apparently wandered 4 to 5 feet away, when he got caught between the rotating portion of the floor and a wall, a space of only about 4 to 5 inches.

"We simply think he lost sight of his parents and panicked and found himself in that situation," Pickard said. "A small child don't know what to do in those moments, and it crushed his little small body."

Pickard said the staff and patrons at the restaurant immediately jumped into action to try to render first aid to the child.

"The amount 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."

First responders were at the restaurant in a matter of minutes. However, the boy was unconscious when he was rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, and he later died.

The restaurant at the top of the Westin Hotel, popularly known as the Sun Dial, is an Atlanta attraction because of its clockwise rotating floor, 70 stories up, that offers a 360-degree view of the city.

Pickard said he did not want to comment on whether anything like this has ever happened before. The APD spokesperson did say that the floor has a motion sensor that automatically stops the rotating floor when it senses something is trapped.

That was the case in this incident, but Pickard said it was too late -- the child's head took the brunt of the injury.

"Its very tragic, what has happened today," he said.

Officials said the restaurant will remain closed for the remainder of the weekend.

11Alive has reached out to the business for comment and got a statement from George Reed, hotel manager for the Westin Peachtree Plaza.

In the statement, Reed said the hotel is working with authorities and will assist them in the investigation. "Words cannot express the depths of our sorrow. Our thoughts remain with the family," he said.


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  • Carol Ross Apr 15, 2017
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    I think all of the people blaming the parents are taking out their frustrations at other parents they have seen who let their children run wild in restaurants. We do not know the circumstances in this case. I am willing to give the parents the benefit of the doubt. Regardless of the circumstances, I offer my deepest condolences.

  • Maggie Foege Apr 15, 2017
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    There is something very wrong with you people that feel the need to blame anybody. You know what? Sometimes accidents happen. If you have been fortunate enough to have your kids never get hurt or in a dangerous situation, I applaud you. It must be wonderful to be so perfect. These people have to live with this for the rest of their lives. It's not like they walked away with this child by himself in a pool. They were clearly unaware of the danger, something any of us could've done. No one is to blame here. It was a tragic accident. Look deep in your heart to find some sympathy.

  • Brenda Lawrence Apr 15, 2017
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    I don't think anyone was at fault here...it was a tragedy, plain and simple. I wouldn't be surprised to find that those blaming the parents have no children of their own.

  • Dennis Midkiff Apr 15, 2017
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    I get that the kid was running around and shouldn't have been, but there is a reasonable expectation of safety in public places. They couldn't put up a gate or something to keep kids out and getting crushed to death?

  • Brian Tucker Apr 15, 2017
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    Dam it !!! The parents are fully responsible for there children's actions, the restaurant is not a child care place, so try for a law suit and see how far you get .... I know when I was way younger, my father would say if we acted up in a restaurant, we'd have a red you know what when we got home, what happened to those days ? Parents are totally at fault here, prayers to all involved. Ya know when I used to drive school bus, I had to keep an eye on 60 kids and these parents had to keep an eye on 1 child .... they shouldn't be parents.

  • Fred Neopolitano Apr 15, 2017
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    No- I disagree. There is no way a child should be killed in a restaurant. There should have been something in place to prevent this from happening. As Janet says, children can disappear in a flash. Remember the child that got into the gorilla enclosure.

  • Reggie Berryman Apr 15, 2017
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    View quoted thread

    The law suit is going to blame the restaurant!

  • Janet Ghumri Apr 15, 2017
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    Children are small and can be very, very fast. This tragedy happened in a matter of minutes, and 4-5 feet is just a little more than arms length.

    Don't try to put it on the childs parents unless there's shown to be reason for it. They lost a child. The least we can do is offer sympathy, even if we cannot understand how or why it happened.
    No child is always going to follow the rules, that is part of of their learning process. The most well behaved child can still find themselves in danger in the blink of an eye.
    Let's recall the spirit Easter and mourn with these parents. They won't be able to hug their little one again, that's a heavy price to pay for anyone. Prayers for the family. God bless all of those who tried to help.

  • Stacie Hagwood Apr 15, 2017
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    What a preventable tragedy. Parents should teach and expect obedience of children to stay in their seats in a restaurant, not just to prevent tragedies but out of SHEER RESPECT FOR OTHER PATRONS.

  • Anita Gibson Apr 15, 2017
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    View quoted thread

    Same thing I wondered. So sad. Even at 11 years old my grandson never wanders away. His mom hates it when he has to go to the bathroom at the store being out of her sight for just a minute. He never wandered when we out to eat. We always put him between the wall and one of us, but he doesn't have the desire to be far away. In his own words "it's just not safe". Phones arent allowed during mealtime either. We prefer to interact face to face. Condolences to those who loved him and for those who had to witness it.