Toddler cruise ship death: Grandfather thought window was closed, lawyer says

Vic Ryckaert

A toddler from Indiana was in a play area on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship when she fell from an open window to her death Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a lawyer for the family said.

Attorney Michael Winkleman said 1-year-old Chloe Wiegand's grandfather sat her on a railing in a play area near what he believed was a closed window.

"Chloe wanted to bang on the glass like she always did at her older brother's hockey games," Winkleman said in a statement emailed to The Indianapolis Star, part of the USA TODAY Network. "Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant."

Chloe Wiegand, 1, died July 7, 2019, in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after falling from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Winkleman said the family wants to know why one open window was in a wall of clear glass in the play area.

"Why would you have the danger without any warning, sign or notice?" Winkleman asked.

Police earlier said the grandfather, Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, told officers he lost his grip while holding the girl outside a window on the 11th floor of the Freedom of the Seas, according to The Associated Press.

Chloe's family lives in Granger, Indiana. Her father, Alan Wiegand, is an officer with the South Bend Police Department.

Pete Buttigieg, the city's mayor, South Bend Mayor and a Democratic candidate for president, offered his condolences Tuesday.

"We are saddened by the terrible accident that took the life of Officer Wiegand's young daughter," Buttigieg said in a tweet, "and the city is holding this family in our hearts."

Royal Caribbean Cruises said it was "deeply saddened" by Sunday's accident.

 "We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need," Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau said in an email to the USA TODAY Network. "Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident."

Call IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at 317-444-2701. Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Cruise ship death: Toddler fell from open window, family's lawyer says