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Family of toddler who fell off Royal Caribbean ship says cruise line is to blame

The family of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, who died after falling off a docked ship in Puerto Rico, is placing more blame squarely on the shoulders of the cruise line.
/ Source: TODAY

The family of a little girl who fell 11 stories to her death on a Royal Caribbean ship in Puerto Rico continues to say the cruise line needs to be held accountable for what happened.

Michael Winkleman, an attorney for the Wiegand family, reiterated Tuesday that Royal Caribbean is at fault, while the family shared new photos from the ship taken after the accident.

Toddler died in fall off cruise ship
Investigators on the scene on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas where Chloe Wiegand died after falling through an open window.Courtesy of Wiegand family

Eighteen-month-old Chloe Wiegand died Sunday when she fell through an open window on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship, landing on a concrete dock.

Chloe's grandfather, Sam Anello, had placed her on a railing near the window, unaware that it was open, the family said.

Original reports indicated Anello may have dropped the girl, but her family disputes that claim. It's unclear why the window was open or who may have opened it.

Royal Caribbean has not responded to any allegations that it was negligent.Courtesy of Wiegand family

"He puts her up on there thinking she's going to bang on the glass and it's going to be great, and she goes to bang on the glass and the next thing he knows she's gone,” Winkleman said.

Winkleman said Royal Caribbean should have provided some sort of notice.

"How about a warning? How about a sign? How about something?" he said.

Anello works in information technology for St. Joseph County in South Bend, Indiana. Fellow employees were stunned by the tragic turn of events.

Chloe with her grandfather Sam AnelloCourtesy of Wiegand family

"He just loved, loves his grandkids and its, it's just hard," county auditor Mike Hamann said while fighting back tears. "Sorry, it's hard to imagine this for him and anyone."

Royal Caribbean has not commented about any claims it was negligent, although it did release a statement saying it is "deeply saddened" and "our hearts go out to the family."

In South Bend, locals were raising money in support of the family.

"The family was looking forward to it and now a part of them is not going home, that's hard," James Burns, a South Bend police officer, said.