Child Dies Onboard Cruise Ship, Parents Quarantined in Hospital

A 12-year-old boy died suddenly while aboard a cruise ship travelling to Sardinia, Italy.

The child, who is German, fell ill on the MSC Divina as it made its way from Palermo, Italy, to Calgliari, the capital of Sardinia, in the early hours of Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for MSC Cruises, which owns and operates the ship, confirmed to Newsweek.

The boy's family sought medical assistance aboard the ship, but despite efforts to resuscitate the child, he died at around 3 a.m.

"While the staff of our Medical Centre reacted promptly, the health status of the child unexpectedly deteriorated. Despite several attempts to resuscitate the child, he unfortunately passed away," the spokesperson said.

They added: "The cause of this matter has not been identified yet, however, out of respect for the deceased and his family, and to respect medical privacy, we are unable to disclose any further details."

L'Union Sarda newspaper reported that the boy's parents and two brothers were taken to hospital in Sardinia where they were placed in quarantine as a precautionary measure. The MSC Cruises spokesman told Newsweek that the quarantine measure lasted between two and three hours and was standard procedure in such cases.

Coast Guard officials also arrived on the scene when the ship had docked in Cagliari. L'Union Sara reported that authorities had been alerted to the boy's death but no investigation was launched as medics had determined the cause of death had been natural.

The boy had reportedly been feeling ill during the first stop of the cruise, in Civitavecchia. But according to, he underwent a medical examination and then continued the journey with his family as the ship headed to Palermo the following day.

From there, the ship set sail for Sardinia and the boy's condition deteriorated. He died while the ship was still three hours from the island's southern coast.

According to Il Messaggero, the MSC Divina has since continued on its journey around the Mediterranean.

The spokesman for MSC Cruises told Newsweek that they are working with authorities and with German embassy officials to assist the family with repatriation efforts.

"We are offering our full support to the family at this extremely difficult time and a dedicated care team onsite is providing support and comfort," he said. "We are deeply saddened by this incident and offer our heartfelt condolences to the family and those affected."

An estimated 200 people die aboard a cruise ship every year, not including people who die falling overboard, according to British newspaper The Telegraph.

This year has already seen a number of headline-making incidents involving cruise ships, including the death of 18-month old Chloe Wiegand from Indiana.

The toddler died on July 7 after she fell through an open 11th-story window on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

On June 3, a 20-year-old man died aboard the Norwegian Getaway a day before the ship docked at the port of Newhaven Harbour in Edinburgh, Scotland, according to the Daily Record.

Days later, The Associated Press reported that a Korean woman was presumed dead after she went overboard while the Norwegian Epic was sailing from Cannes in France to Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

MSC Divina
Stock photo: MSC Divina. A 12-year-old boy died suddenly aboard the cruise ship MSC Divina as it headed to Sardinia, Italy. Getty