Dec. 12 (UPI) — The family of an Indiana toddler who fell to her death from an open window on a cruise ship sued Royal Caribbean on Wednesday, blaming the company for failing to comply with safety codes.
The lawsuit says Royal Caribbean failed to protect 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand by not installing a warning sign or safety devices on the open window on the 11th floor of the ship.
“Royal Caribbean played a major role in the death of our child,” the toddler’s mother, Kim Wiegand, said during a news conference. “The only people who can really understand this pain are other parents who … have lost a child.”
Chloe died in July while the ship, the Freedom of the Seas, was docked in Puerto Rico. Her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, picked up the girl to let her see through the cruise ship window. Her family said she enjoyed looking through and banging on the glass at her brother’s hockey games back home.
Anello said he didn’t realize the window was open, and when Chloe leaned forward to bang on the glass, she slipped from his grasp and fell to the deck 150 feet below.
Police arrested Anello in October on negligent homicide charges. Kim Wiegand said the family doesn’t support criminal action against Anello.
“I sit here broken. We all sit here broken,” Anello said during the news conference. “But our family is strong and we will stay strong together.”
The Wiegands’ lawyer, Michael Winkleman, told NBC News that the windows on the ship were “entirely not compliant with the standard for windows on cruise ships.”
“Carnival and [Norwegian Cruise Line] and even newer Royal Caribbean cruise ships have windows that are wholly compliant with these window fall prevention codes,” Winkleman said.
The family sought unspecified damages from the cruise line.