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

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

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Sun Dial restaurant
Julie Wolfe
Adrianne Haney, WXIA
ATLANTA — 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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