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Family of toddler who died in fall from cruise ship files lawsuit against Royal Caribbean

From court documents: Wall of glass featuring three rows of glass, floor to ceiling - with a wooden rail between the middle and bottom rows.

From court documents: Wall of glass featuring three rows of glass, floor to ceiling - with a wooden rail between the middle and bottom rows.

From court documents: Wall of glass featuring three rows of glass, floor to ceiling - with a wooden rail between the middle and bottom rows.

From court documents: Wall of glass featuring three rows of glass, floor to ceiling - with a wooden rail between the middle and bottom rows.

From court documents: A photo depicting the distance between the window and the railing

From court documents: Glass panes on the pool deck do not open (Carnival Breeze)

From court documents: Glass panes on the pool deck do not open (Carnival Breeze)

From court documents: Glass panes on the pool deck aboard the Norwegian Epic do not open

From court documents: Glass panes near the water park on the Anthem of the Seas do not open

From court documents: Glass panes near the water park on the Anthem of the Seas do not open


SOUTH BEND, Ind.—The family of Chloe Wiegand, the toddler who fell to her death on a cruise ship in July, announced Wednesday that they are suing Royal Caribbean cruise line.

In the newly filed lawsuit, Wiegand’s parents, Kim and Alan, allege general negligence, negligent failure to maintain, and negligent failure to warn, saying that the Freedom of the Seas, the cruise ship that the Wiegand family was on, was not compliant with current window fall prevention guidelines.

The family has not specified the amount that they are seeking in damages in the lawsuit.

“The goal is to raise awareness about window falls and to prevent this from ever happening to another child ever again,” said attorney for the Wiegand family, Michael Winkleman.

On July 7, on a docked Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Puerto Rico, 18-month-old Wiegand was with her grandfather, Salvatore “Sam” Anello, on the 11th floor near an open window when she fell to her death.

Officials in Puerto Rico said that Anello sat his granddaughter in the window and lost his balance when Wiegand fell to her death.

Winkleman said that the young girl loved glass and windows and her grandfather lifted her up so she could bang on the window like she did at hockey games. He blamed the cruise ship company for leaving the window in the children’s play area open.

In the lawsuit, the wall of glass is said to have featured three rows of glass, floor to ceiling, with a wooden rail between the middle and bottom rows. Court documents said that some of the glass panes in the middle row had the ability to be slid open by anyone, including other passengers.

The family has asked not to show the video footage of the cruise ship from the time of Wiegand’s fall.

Anello was charged with negligent homicide and last appeared in a San Juan courtroom on November 20. He is due back in court on December 16. Winkleman is not representing Anello in the criminal suit in Puerto Rico.

Wiegand’s family does not support the charges filed against Anello in Puerto Rico, saying the legal issue has caused stress for the family.

Wiegand’s mother, Kim, spoke at the press conference, saying that Wiegand’s second birthday would have been Friday, December 13. She asked the community to complete random acts of kindness for strangers to keep Wiegand’s memory alive.

Royal Caribbean released the following statement on Wednesday:

Our hearts go out to the family for their tragic loss. Mr. Salvatore Anello is currently being criminally prosecuted for negligent homicide in the case. We have no comment on the civil filing.

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