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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Regional District of East Kootenay draft 5-year financial plan open for review

The public comment period is open until noon on March 2

Eagles Boxers at BC Championships

Pictured above: Eagles Boxers are back from the BC Provincial Championships in… Continue reading

It happened this week in 1913

February 16 - 22: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the archived newspapers… Continue reading

Key City Theatre establishes new endowment fund

The Key City Theatre Legacy Fund was made possible thanks to an anonymous donation

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Eyes on police after Trudeau orders blockades torn down, injunctions enforced

The RCMP in B.C. have sent a letter to the traditional leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation

B.C. massage therapist suspended following allegations of sexual misconduct

While suspended, Leonard Krekic is not entitled to practice as an RMT in B.C.

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Most Read