A 12-year-old boy from Germany suddenly died while on a Mediterranean cruise ship travelling to Sardinia, Italy, with the rest of his family now quarantined, reported Il Messaggero.
The unnamed child became ill while aboard the MSC Divina as the ship sailed from Palermo, on the northern coast of Sicily, westward toward Cagliari, in southern Sardinia.
The boy had reportedly been feeling sick since the boat's first stop in Civitavecchia, near Rome, and underwent a medical examination, the results of which have not been revealed. After that he continued the journey.
But in the early hours of Tuesday his condition deteriorated, and attempts to resuscitate him were not successful.
The child died around 3am that morning.
Robin Roothans, a spokesperson for MSC Cruises, said:
"While the staff of our Medical Center reacted promptly, the health status of the child unexpectedly deteriorated. Despite several attempts to resuscitate the child, he unfortunately passed away."
"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."
As Coast Guard and the staff of the Maritime Health came on board after the ship docked, they ascertained that the death occurred due to natural causes. However, the body of the child was transferred to the Policlinico di Monserrato for further checks.
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 standard precautionary measure due to the seemingly unexplained nature of the boy's illness.
No one else on the ship has been diagnosed with similar symptoms to the child, the outlet added.
A spokesman for MSC Cruises said they were working with authorities and German embassy officials to assist the family in any way possible.
The ship has reportedly continued its journey around the Mediterranean.