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

Father and autistic son bike across Canada

They passed through Revelstoke on July 18

Revelstoke’s parks department proposes maintenance and inspection policy

The policy formally lays out inspection and response timelines

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Okanagan resident’s alleged stolen dog found safe

Nicholas Bozak thanks the public for finding his 17 month old mastiff chow

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Okanagan woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for homeless youth

Victoria Schermel’s climb will raise funds for youth homelessness initiative, The Upstream Project.

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pled guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

Most Read