Kimberly Wiegand and her husband Alan Wiegand have broken their personal silence concerning the death of their 18-month-old daughter Chloe Wiegand, who fell from the 11th deck of a Royal Caribbean ship as it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 7.
Chloe was on the Freedom of the Seas with her parents and grandparents.
Her grandfather, Salvatore Anello had lifted her to sit on a railing, according to the family's attorney, the Indy Star reported. He had thought there was glass behind the railing, similar to what he had found at hockey rinks where he allowed her to bang on the glass. But there was no glass at the railing of the ship, and Chloe fell 11 stories to a concrete surface on the pier.
Parents: Royal Caribbean responsible for Indiana toddler's 11-story fall https://t.co/Rc7RnQCurs— IndyStar (@indystar) July 22, 2019
Originally The Associated Press had reported police in San Juan said Anello had held Chloe outside a window. Police then said that Anello sat the girl on a railing, the AP reported the day after she died.
"He was extremely hysterical," Kimberly Wiegand told the "Today" show in an interview that aired Monday morning. "The thing that he has reportedly told us is, 'I believed that there was glass.' He will cry over and over. At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger."
Kimberly Wiegand called Chloe her grandfather's best friend.
But the family has questions for the cruise line: Why wasn't there glass behind the railing?
And the family isn't satisfied with the answer.
"And their response to that was, 'We need ventilation.' Well, to that I would say, 'Get a fan. Come up with some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life," Kimberly Wiegand said during the "Today" interview.
The family is taking Royal Caribbean to court.
"There's no doubt this was an accident," family attorney Mike Winkleman, said, according to the "Today" show. "Really the singular question is, were there safety measures that could have been in place and should have been in place? If they were in place, again there would have been no tragedy."
Royal Caribbean released a statement to the "Today" show saying:
"We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We have assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries, and they are the appropriate people to address further questions."
The Puerto Rico Department of Justice categorized the investigation status as in advanced stages but would not elaborate further, the "Today" show reported.
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