United States family blames cruise company for toddler's death

Kimberley Schultz Wiegand with daughter Chloe

"Essentially her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it's clear, but it turns out there was no glass there", Michael Winkleman, a Miami-based attorney hired by Chloe's family, told the "Today" show.

The family was on a Royal Caribbean ship in Puerto Rico when the toddler fell and died.

Indiana TV station WSBT reports that Chloe was the daughter of South Bend police officer Alan Wiegand, while Anello is an IT worker living in Valparaiso.

Wiegand was on vacation with her parents, grandparents and older brother from IN, according to their attorney. "For Sam, he's going to have to live with that memory for the rest of his life", said Winkleman. As he describes it, the toddler's tragic death is unlike numerous original reports circling the internet.

"The grandfather is with Chloe, they're playing and there's this wall of all windows, it's all glass windows". When Chloe threw herself forward, there was no glass, and physics yanked her from her grandfather's grasp.

The toddler's devastated family members, who will remain in Puerto Rico while her death is investigated, now want to know why Royal Caribbean had open glass panels in an area designed for small children.

The grandfather put Chloe on a wood railing and she fell out of the window, Winkleman said.

Winkleman raised questions as to why there was an open window without warning signs.

Asked if the grandfather had been drinking, he added: "There was absolutely no alcohol involved, Sam is not a drinker". "There are federal laws and federal standards that are created to specifically prevent against this - things like using screens, things like using grids, things like limiting the amount that a window can open".

Royal Caribbean issued a new statement on Tuesday that said, "We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR, as they make inquiries after an incident aboard Freedom of the Seas on Sunday".

When asked about the family claims of negligence, the cruise line would only say that it is assisting local authorities and has no further information to share.

Winkleman noted that the Freedom of the Seas ship, which made its maiden voyage in 2006, is older, and none of the newer ships have similar windows that can be opened in the same way.

"We've all had that experience where someone walks into a glass door thinking it's not there".

"If you have a wall of glass, I don't think it's unreasonable to put a child there thinking that there was glass there", he added.

Winkleman is hoping to gain access to the ship and to surveillance footage of the incident. "This is the inverse of that", Winkleman said.

Chloe died from the fall on Sunday, while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.



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