The family of Indiana toddler who fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship have blamed the liner for her death, saying she died by falling through a window which had been left open in the kids’ play area.

Little Chloe Wiegand died after falling from the Freedom of the Seas ship onto a concrete dock in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday afternoon.

Local officials initially said she had been in her grandfather Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello’s arms and that he lost his grip on her, reports Daily Mail.

They were on the 11th floor of the ship where there is a kids’ pool known as the ‘H20 zone’. It is an outdoor play area but is encased by two walls of windows on either side.

A lawyer hired by the family revealed that Anello had put Chloe up on a wooden railing to let her bang on the glass, as she loved to do at her older brothers’ ice hockey games in Indiana, not realizing that the window was in fact open.

ship window

When she leaned forward to pound her hands on it, she went straight through the open space and plummeted to the ground below, letting out a ‘blood curdling’ scream as she fell, according to witnesses.

The lawyer said that Anello simply did not see that the window was open when he propped Chloe up against it but he ‘absolutely had not’ been drinking.

‘We’ve all had that experience where someone walks into a glass door thinking it’s not there. This is the inverse of that,’ Michael Winkleman, the family’s lawyer, said on Tuesday.

He said the windows should not have been able to open at all given that they are in a children’s area and so high up on the ship.

Winkleman called it a ‘preventable tragedy’ and said the window should never have been open so high up.

‘What was preventable here was really, why would you ever put windows that passengers could open.

‘It was reasonable for him to think this was all glass.

‘From his perspective it was all glass,’ he added.

‘I do think there is going to be blame and significant blame on the cruise line.

‘I will do everything I can to hold them accountable for what appears to me to be negligence,’ he added.

Our thoughts are with the family. What a terrible tragedy.

Share your comments below


  • How tragic is this ! My heart goes out to the family.

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  • So sad. Of all the windows he held her up to it was the open one. There should be warning signs on checking the windows.
    He physically picked her up to hold her to glass so it’s his ownership but so tragic.

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  • So so sad. Just horrible. RIP little one.

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  • Very sad. I’m glad I have a fear of heights and being near windows, no way I’d go near one closed, or let my child bang on it. Such a horrible mistake that will haunt them forever. R.I.P. beautiful one. :(

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  • This is such an awful tragedy – but why do we always have to point the finger and find someone to blame. It does seem like an odd thing to do though; to lift the child up onto the railing so that she could bang on the glass.

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  • Oh I’m so heart broken. RIP little angel

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  • This was such a terrible tragedy that could have been avoided. To me the Cruise Liner was not the only one at fault. If Chloe had not been allowed to bang on the glass this wouldn’t have happened either. No matter who is to blame it won’t unfortunately bring young Chloe back. My heart goes out to the family of Chloe. RIP little angel

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  • This is so very sad. I agree, I do not understand why you would put a window that can open in a children’s area that is also 11 floors up. Not to mention, cruise ships occasionally go through rough water and tip from side to side. This seems like an accident waiting to happen.

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  • There is no winner here. It is a tragedy whichever way you look at it and a family has lost their little girl.

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  • Very sad BUT the grandfather taking no blame. Always some else’s fault.

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  • How tragic! The poor grandfather would feel so bad

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  • I hope all cruise ships will now look at the designs of their ships and make sure that they are safe for children. So tragic for the family.

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  • Sooo heartbreaking

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  • Poor family & grandfather this heartbreaking.

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  • I am so sorry for your loss. She looked so beautiful and it broke my heart to read what happened to her. May she RIP and may you and your family find peace from this terrible and tragic occurrence. It made me feel so sad to read. The cruise ship should be held accountable. They should not have windows that can open at such a high level, they should be sealed so no one can get hurt. They have been negligent.

    Reply

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