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

Christmas program creating tradition for PQB single mother and daughter

‘It just makes all the difference for your child to smile and laugh on Christmas morning’

PQB crime report: Thieves pilfer cash, root beer and hand sanitizer

Oceanside RCMP receive 249 complaints in one-week period

Solutions in sight for Parksville Qualicum Beach doctor shortage

With feasibility study funded, group shares vision of ‘campus of healthcare’

A very cheesy Christmas at Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

Annual family Christmas event, this year with raclette hot off the melting wheel

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Firefighters called to burning motorhome on Nanaimo’s waterfront

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes blaze Monday afternoon on Esplanade and Irwin Street

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Most Read