At some point, the boy wandered from the window table where the family was sitting and got pinned in the space between the rotating floor and part of the stationary wall, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
The floor shut off automatically when the boy became stuck in the 4- to 5-inch gap, police told local media. Restaurant staff members rushed to help, police said, pulling furniture out of the way, turning over tables and trying to perform first aid.
Firefighters were called to the restaurant around 3:30 p.m. and reportedly worked for about 30 minutes before they were able to free the boy. After being rushed to Grady Memorial Hospital, the boy was pronounced dead from a head injury at 4:20 p.m., the Journal-Constitution reported. He was identified as Charlie Holt.
“No words can express their loss,” the statement read. “If you have a loved one, please give them an extra hug today.”
Police called the boy’s death a tragic accident, saying it wasn’t clear how he became stuck.
“They were up enjoying one of our favorite attractions, the restaurant, and just things went horribly wrong,” Sgt. Warren Pickard told local media. “A small child (doesn’t) know what to do in those moments. It crushed his little, small body,” he added.
The Sun Dial has become an iconic part of the Atlanta dining scene since it opened in 1976 as part of the Westin hotel, which was Atlanta’s tallest structure for roughly a decade.
The rotating eatery has undergone multiple renovations in the time since. In 2008, after a tornado destroyed windows, the restaurant closed for about a year and new wheels were installed on its rotator, the Journal-Constitution reported. The restaurant underwent a $3 million renovation in 2013 and 2014, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.
The Sun Dial was closed over the weekend after Charlie’s death.
A spokesman for the restaurant didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Sunday. Westin Peachtree Plaza Manager George Reed told local media in a statement the hotel was working with local authorities to investigate the accident.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family,” Reed said. “Words cannot express the depths of our sorrow.”