Parents of toddler who fell to her death from Royal Caribbean cruise ship blame company for daughter's demise

Alex Lasker
·2 min read

The parents of the toddler who fell to her death from the 11th floor of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship earlier this month say they blame the company for the tragic loss of their daughter.

"We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship," Kimberly Wiegand, mother of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, told "Today." "There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer. I know my mom was asking people, 'Why on earth is there a window open on the 11th floor without a screen or anything?'"

"Their response to that was, 'We need ventilation,'" the bereaved mother continued. "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."

Chloe, of Granger, Ind., was with her family, including parents Alan and Kimberly, on a vacation on July 7 when she fell from an open window of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The child's maternal grandfather, Salvatore Aiello, was allegedly holding her on a railing he believed was backed by glass so she could look outside, when she leaned forward to bang on the window and toppled out of an open panel. She fell an estimated 150 feet from one of the ship's highest decks, hitting an awning before landing on the concrete dock below and dying on impact.

Wiegand told "Today" that she does not hold the elder accountable for his grand daughter's death, adding that he was "extremely hysterical" after the incident.

"The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, 'I believed that there was glass.' He will cry over and over and over," she explained. "(He's) very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying. She was his best friend."

Chloe's parents now say they want to hold the company responsible in court to prevent a similar tragedy from happening ever again.

"This cannot happen to another family," Wiegand told "Today." "I never want another mother to see what I had to see, or to scream how I had to scream."