A Charlotte, North Carolina family was on vacation in Atlanta when the incident happened. Their five-year-old son died after being pinned between the wall of the restaurant and the rotating floor at the Sun Dial in the 73-storey Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel. The incident happened on Friday, April 14 at around 3:30 p.m. local time and the restaurant is now closed until further notice.

North Carolina boy wanders away from the family

According to Sergeant Warren Pickard of the Atlanta Police Department, the boy was enjoying lunch with his family in the restaurant.

Pickard said being five years of age, he was “doing what small children do,” and wandered away from the table. According to a report by the International Business Times, the boy’s entire body became caught between the rotating floor, the restaurant’s wall and a table. Reportedly the automatic shut off immediately stopped the rotation of the floor, as hotel staff and security rushed to the boy’s aid.

Atlanta firefighters reportedly spent approximately 30 minutes freeing the boy from the 4-inch gap where he was stuck. According to emergency officials, the boy was bleeding from a head injury and was immediately taken to the nearby Grady Memorial Hospital, where he passed away from his injuries.

‘Very tragic incident’ at the Sun Dial

Pickard, calling it a “very tragic incident,” said diners in the restaurant also rushed to the child’s aid, knocking over tables in an attempt to help the boy, but were not successful in saving him.

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He went on to say that the family was visiting from the Charlotte area of North Carolina and were enjoying what is considered to be one of the city’s favorite attractions in Downtown Atlanta when everything went wrong.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution quoted manager George Reed as saying in an emailed statement that the hotel was cooperating with the police investigation into the incident.

Reed said words could not convey their sorrow over the loss and that their thoughts and prayers are with the family of the young boy.

The Sun Dial is an icon of Atlanta

That newspaper describes the Sun Dial as an Atlanta icon, originally opened in the Western Peachtree Plaza Hotel back in 1976. The rotating restaurant in the hotel has three levels and offer diners a 360-degree view across the Atlanta skyline from a height of 723 feet. The hotel is described as having an unusual, round design which makes it among the most recognized buildings in the city.

The hotel is not without controversy, however, as a kitchen worker died there last year after getting locked in a walk-in freezer. 61-year-old Carolyn Robinson had reportedly worked for Westin for over 35 years when the incident happened on March 22. Another accident at the Atlanta hotel took the life of Stephen Akinlabi, 10, a year ago after he fell into the hotel pool.