(SOUTH BEND, Ind.) — An Indiana toddler had a fatal fall from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship after her grandfather put her up on a railing, thinking the glass window was closed, according to the family’s attorney.
Chloe Wiegand, who was 18 months old, was traveling with her grandparents and parents on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas when she fell to her death on Sunday, according to her parent’s attorney, Michael Winkleman.
Chloe was with her grandfather in the children’s water park play area when her grandfather put her on a wood railing in front of a wall of glass windows, Winkleman said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Chloe is a hockey fan and loved to bang on the ice hockey rink glass wall as she watched her older brother, Winkleman said, and her grandfather put her on the railing thinking she’d bang on the glass.
However, the window was open — and she was “gone,” Winkleman said, calling her death a “tragic accident that was preventable.”
“Why would you ever, in a kids play area put windows that passengers can open?” Winkleman said. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put a child there thinking there’s glass.”
“The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico,” the department said in a statement. “The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”
South Bend Mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg added on Twitter, “We are saddened by the terrible accident that took the life of Officer Wiegand’s young daughter, and the city is holding this family in our hearts.”
Owen Torres, corporate communications manager with Royal Caribbean, said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need.”
Torres added on Tuesday, “We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR, as they make inquiries.”
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