Tourism & Cruises

Teen dies after falling from a balcony on Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Haiti

With a capacity of 6,700 passengers, Harmony of the Seas is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world.
With a capacity of 6,700 passengers, Harmony of the Seas is one of the biggest cruise ships in the world. El Nuevo Herald

A 16-year-old cruise passenger died after falling from Deck 8 of Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas ship on Friday, the Sun Sentinel reported.

Laurent Mercier, who was on vacation with his family, according to the Sun Sentinel, was trying to climb from one balcony to another when he fell onto what appears to be a striped asphalt surface of the pier alongside the ship and died.

“The ship’s medical team responded to the pier and attempted CPR, but the decedent had sustained major head trauma, and he was pronounced at 1142 hours,” the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office said in a statement. “Local authorities reportedly responded to the scene and established that no crime had occurred, but did not issue a death certificate.”

The 5,400-passenger ship was docked in Labadee, Haiti, the ship’s first stop on a seven-day Western Caribbean sailing from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Mercier was originally from Wallis and Futuna, a French island nation in the Pacific, according to the Broward Medical Examiner’s Office.

“We are saddened by the loss of one our guests in a tragic accident,’’ Owen Torres, manager of communications for Royal Caribbean, said in a statement emailed to the Herald.

People aboard the ship discussed the incident on Cruise Critic, an online forum for cruisers. One passenger shared photos of an area on the pier close to the side of the ship blocked off with barriers.

Just last month, a crew member on Harmony of the Seas died after going overboard as the ship sailed from Fort Lauderdale to St. Maarten on Christmas Day.

This story has been updated to include a statement from the Broward County Medical Examiner’s Office and to correct the spelling of Mercier’s name.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for Arron Hough, 20, who went overboard on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas on Christmas day.

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Taylor Dolven covers the tourism industry at the Miami Herald, where she aims to tell stories about the people who work in tourism and the people who enjoy it. Previously, she worked at Vice News in Brooklyn, NY, where she won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of NY for a national investigation of police shootings.