The Freedom of the Seas cruise ship is seen docked at the San Juan Port, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, June 20, 2007. The ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises, resumed its voyage after a passenger, an unidentified 24-year-old American man, was reported missing on Monday when sailing the waters east of Eleuthera Island, in the Bahamas. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Toddler fell to death from open window on cruise ship in Puerto Rico: Attorney

Chloe Wiegand apparently slipped from her grandfather’s hands Sunday

An 18-month-old Indiana girl who fell to her death from the 11th story of a cruise ship in Puerto Rico plunged from a window inexplicably left open in a children’s play area, the family’s attorney said Tuesday.

Police in Puerto Rico had said Monday that Chloe Wiegand apparently slipped from her grandfather’s hands Sunday as he was holding her out of an 11th-floor window on the Freedom of the Seas.

But Michael Winkleman, a Miami attorney who’s representing the girl’s family, said Tuesday that “the story is not as it had originally been portrayed in the media.”

“The grandfather didn’t drop the child, the child fell due to an open glass pane that should have been closed securely,” he said in a statement.

Winkleman said Chloe Wiegand, whose father is a South Bend, Indiana, police officer, was playing with her grandfather in the “kid’s water zone” on the ship as it was docked in Puerto Rico when she asked him to lift her to a wall of windows lining the play area.

“Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brother’s hockey games. Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant,” Winkleman said.

Police in Puerto Rico declined to comment on Winkleman’s account of the events leading up to the child’s fatal fall.

Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told the AP on Tuesday that the girl’s family will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation of her death is complete.

Winkleman’s office said the girl’s family remained in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, waiting for their child’s body to be released, and they hope to return home to Indiana once that happens.

Winkleman said the girl’s family wants to know why a window that “should have been closed securely” was open. Winkleman said the family is “understandably too distraught to talk” about the tragedy.

“The family needs answers as to why there would be an open window in a wall full of fixed windows in a kids’ play area? Why would you have the danger without any warning, sign, or notice?” he asked.

Royal Caribbean Cruises called the girl’s death a tragic incident in a statement Monday and said it was helping the family.

The cruise line had not responded to messages left Tuesday seeking comment on Winkleman’s statements about the circumstances of the child’s death.

Puerto Rico Ports Authority spokesman José Carmona told The Associated Press on Monday that the family was gathered in or near a dining hall on the 11th floor and that the grandfather sat the toddler on the edge of a window. He said officials are investigating whether the window was already opened or if someone had opened it.

The Associated Press

Just Posted

Grand Forks seniors society finds new home, more members after year apart

The seniors centre is aiming to open at the old Hardy View Lodge on Aug. 1

Search and Rescue well-trained but looking for permanent home

They’ve got a big team and solid training, now GF SAR is looking for a permanent home

Search for missing Salmo motorcyclist called off for the time being

RCMP say no evidence of Cory McKay’s whereabouts was found Thursday

Huckleberry harvesting restricted in Kootenay-Boundary region

Critical foraging zones for grizzly bear and other wildlife species

ANKORS warns of deadly pills found in West Kootenay

The synthetic cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA was discovered during drug testing

VIDEO: Reports say Lashana Lynch is the new 007

Daniel Craig will reprise his role as Bond one last time

High-speed rail link would run from Vancouver to Seattle in under 1 hour: study

Annual ridership is projected to exceed three million

ICBC insurance renewals get more complicated this year

Crash history, driver risk prompt more reporting requirements

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

U.S. tug firm to be sentenced for 2016 spill in B.C. First Nation’s territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

Asylum figures show overall slower rate of irregular crossings into Canada

Between January and June 2019, a total of 6,707 asylum seekers crossed irregularly into Canada

Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

Most Read