The family of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand who died after falling out the window on the 11th floor of a cruise ship in Puerto Rico earlier this month has been wrestling with their own pain of loss each morning.
“The first 30 seconds of the day I don’t remember what happened. And then, after that 30 seconds of peace, it comes back, and I relive what happened,” Kimberly Wiegand, Chloe’s mother, said in an exclusive interview on “Today.”
“The thing that I latch onto is really her memory.”
Chloe Wiegand was with her grandfather Salvatore Anello when she fell from the 11th deck of Royal Caribbean International’s Freedom of the Seas onto the concrete below.
Her grandfather placed her on a railing next to what he believed was a glass window in a children’s water play area, but the window was actually open, according to the family’s lawyer, Michael Winkleman. The family said he often did the same thing with her when they attended hockey games, letting her bang on the glass.
“He will cry over and over, and over. At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger,” Kimberly Wiegand said.
Kimberly Wiegand and her husband, Alan Wiegand, described the anguish of discovering how their child had died — circumstances she described as “unfathomable”.
“I ran over there, and I looked over. And it wasn’t water down there, it was concrete. It was honestly, to lose our baby this way, is just unfathomable,” she said.
The family said Royal Caribbean should be blamed for their daughter’s death. They questioned why there was an open window in a children’s play area so high off the ground.
“There are a million things that could’ve been done to make that safer. I don’t know why a window opens completely,” said Wiegand.
The family would like to see the company held responsible in court.
She added: “I think that they have to be. This cannot happen to another family.”
Workers on the ship said the window was open because the area needed ventilation, according to Kimberly Wiegand
“Well, to that I would say, get a fan,” she said. “Come up with some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life.”
When asked about the incident, Royal Caribbean released the statement: “We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We have assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries and they are the appropriate people to address further questions.”
The Puerto Rico Department of Justice said was in advanced stages and it could not make any additional comments.