Family of girl who fell to death on cruise ship searching for answers

Zion Smith's family will take some sort of legal action, great uncle says

MIAMI – The great uncle of an 8-year-old girl who fell to her death on a Carnival Cruise Line ship Saturday said the family is searching for answers in the girl's death.

"We are here in Miami to find answers, to find what happened aboard the ship," Damien Fox told Local 10 News in an exclusive interview Sunday.

The Miami-Dade Police Department said Zion Smith fell from a deck inside the Carnival Glory cruise ship's interior atrium to the lower deck while docked at PortMiami. The ship had just arrived from a week-long trip, and passengers were disembarking when she fell about 8:15 a.m.

Zion was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital's Ryder Trauma Center, where she was pronounced dead.

Fox described Zion, who is from the Bahamas, as a happy, loving, active and playful straight-A student.

Zion and her baby brother were on the cruise with their mother, her boyfriend and his family on a vacation.

Fox said some of the family members who were on the trip said they believe as an elevator door opened, several people were pushing and shoving to get out, and that may have caused Zion to fall over the railing. He said no matter what, the family will be pursuing some sort of legal action.

"We just need some justice and we need some answers," Fox said. "Once we get that, we can move forward."

Miami-Dade police Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said investigators were working closely with the cruise line to determine the details surrounding the incident.

"Our most heartfelt care and concern is with the family at this very difficult time," Carnival Cruise Line spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said in a statement.

About the Authors:

Dawn is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.

Liane Morejon is an Emmy-winning reporter who joined the Local 10 News family in January 2010. Born and raised in Coral Gables, Liane has a unique perspective on covering news in her own backyard.