Royal Caribbean is in hot water over allegations that it was negligent in the death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand.
For many families, taking a family vacation on a cruise ship is a time to create happy memories to last a lifetime. It’s not supposed to be a time when parents lose a child. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened to Alan and Kimberly Wiegand. Back on July 7, the couple took their family on a vacation on the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. Among the family members was the couple’s 18-month-old daughter, Chloe Wiegand. Tragically, during the cruise, the toddler “fell to her death from the 11th floor of the cruise ship.” Now her parents are blaming the company.
What happened, though? For starters, the incident occurred when the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Just before the incident, the child was being held by her maternal grandfather, Salvatore Aiello. According to witnesses, Aiello was “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.” It’s estimated Chloe fell about 150 feet from one of the “ship’s highest decks, hitting an awning before landing on the concrete dock below and dying on impact.”
When commenting on the tragic loss of her daughter, Mrs. Wiegand said:
“We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship…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?’”
She added that the ship responded by saying the area needed ventilation, to which Mrs. Wiegand said, “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.” She also noted that she doesn’t blame her father for her daughter’s death and said he was “extremely hysterical after the incident.” She added, “the thing that he has repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass.’ He will cry over and over and over. He’s very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying. She was his best friend.”
For now, the Wiegand family wants to hold the cruise line responsible in court to hopefully prevent other similar incidents from happening. Mrs. Wiegand said, “This cannot happen to another family. I never want another mother to see what I had to see, or to scream how I had to scream.”