A 5-year-old boy was trapped inside a rotating Atlanta restaurant and killed back in April. Now, his parents have filed a lawsuit against the 73-story hotel and restaurant where he died.
Charlie Holt’s head was caught in a 5-inch gap between a piece of furniture and wall while the floor of the restaurant, Sun Dial, rotated, the Charlotte Observer reported. Marriott International, Inc. owns the Westin Peachtree Hotel where Sun Dial is located, and they are all named in the suit.
The boy’s parents, Michael and Rebecca Holt, are accusing the companies of negligence for failing to address a “longstanding safety hazard.” It argues that there were no protections to stop children from getting trapped. Furthermore, it alleges that no emergency stop mechanism exists on the wall to quickly stop the rotation in the event of such an incident.
“Due to the pending litigation, we are not commenting on the matter,” Marriott International, Inc. spokesman Jeff Flaherty told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The nightmarish scene is described in the lawsuit.
“As Charlie walked around the booth (following the path toward the exit), he was suddenly trapped in a pinch point between the wooden booth and the stationary interior wall,” says the complaint. “Charlie’s parents were only a few feet behind him and immediately went to help him. […] There was no safety device to stop the floor’s rotation automatically. The restaurant continued to turn, wrenching Charlie deeper into the narrowing pinch point. [...] The Holts screamed for help, for someone to stop the movement. It didn’t stop. […] Michael repeatedly threw his body weight against the booth, but it would not budge. Michael literally tore the booth apart with his hands, but could not free Charlie.”
Meanwhile, Rebecca consoled the couple’s 2-year-old daughter who was hysterical.
WSB-TV reported that the family’s waiter was finally able to shut off the rotation device, but it was too late. The complaint describes how Charlie’s father saw and heard his son’s head pulled into a space “only a couple of inches wide and was crushed.”
Charlie died later that day “despite the heroic efforts of his family, first responders, doctors, and even complete strangers.”
A statement released by the family's attorney states, "If Marriott had acted responsibly in the face of this known safety hazard, this tragedy would have been prevented. It is never acceptable for a business to needlessly endanger patrons.”
The family is seeking unspecified damages and a jury trial.