The family of Indiana toddler who fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship have blamed the liner for her death, saying she died by falling through a window which had been left open in the kids’ play area.

Little Chloe Wiegand died after falling from the Freedom of the Seas ship onto a concrete dock in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday afternoon.

Local officials initially said she had been in her grandfather Salvatore ‘Sam’ Anello’s arms and that he lost his grip on her, reports Daily Mail.

They were on the 11th floor of the ship where there is a kids’ pool known as the ‘H20 zone’. It is an outdoor play area but is encased by two walls of windows on either side.

A lawyer hired by the family revealed that Anello had put Chloe up on a wooden railing to let her bang on the glass, as she loved to do at her older brothers’ ice hockey games in Indiana, not realizing that the window was in fact open.

ship window

When she leaned forward to pound her hands on it, she went straight through the open space and plummeted to the ground below, letting out a ‘blood curdling’ scream as she fell, according to witnesses.

The lawyer said that Anello simply did not see that the window was open when he propped Chloe up against it but he ‘absolutely had not’ been drinking.

‘We’ve all had that experience where someone walks into a glass door thinking it’s not there. This is the inverse of that,’ Michael Winkleman, the family’s lawyer, said on Tuesday.

He said the windows should not have been able to open at all given that they are in a children’s area and so high up on the ship.

Winkleman called it a ‘preventable tragedy’ and said the window should never have been open so high up.

‘What was preventable here was really, why would you ever put windows that passengers could open.

‘It was reasonable for him to think this was all glass.

‘From his perspective it was all glass,’ he added.

‘I do think there is going to be blame and significant blame on the cruise line.

‘I will do everything I can to hold them accountable for what appears to me to be negligence,’ he added.

Our thoughts are with the family. What a terrible tragedy.

Share your comments below

  • I am so sorry for your loss. She looked so beautiful and it broke my heart to read what happened to her. May she RIP and may you and your family find peace from this terrible and tragic occurrence. It made me feel so sad to read. The cruise ship should be held accountable. They should not have windows that can open at such a high level, they should be sealed so no one can get hurt. They have been negligent.


  • Everything about this just makes me sad!


  • Dreadfully sad, whoever is ultimately responsible.


  • Such a tragedy! Why would the windows be open in a kids area, regardless if they were deemed safe or not … ?? This is heartbreaking!


  • So sad to look at the pictures of that sweet little girl.
    Why did they leave a window open in the kid’s playing area? That’s really upsetting. Her death could have been prevented. :-(


  • Very sad story may she rest in peace


  • What a terrible tragedy.


  • Just a terrible tragedy. Blaming everyone wont help the guilt they will feel forever.


  • RIP lil angel. The kids sections need to be double checked by the authorities!


  • Such a tragedy but if the windows are beyond a childs reach they probably thought it was safe and no doubt it will be thoroughly investigated.

    • Yes it was a tragedy, but totally avoidable if the grandfather had bothered to look to see the window was open and secondly stop blaming a multi million dollar cruise liner because he put the toddler onto the handrail in the first place. Notice no mention of criminal negligence on his part for putting the child in a life threatening situation instead lets go after the big company to pay for his mistake. When will people realize they have to be responsible for their own actions.


  • This is such a heart breaking story, why would a kids area on the 11th floor have windows that opened at all. Hope they find peace soon


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