Grandfather Who Dropped Girl From Cruise Ship Could Face Charges
By Parker Diakite
An investigation is underway into the death of an Indiana toddler who fell from a cruise ship after the child’s grandfather lost grip while holding her near a window.
The one-year-old girl died after falling from an 11-story Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as reported in USA Today.
Puerto Rican safety officials told a local newspaper that detectives are gathering evidence to determine whether to file negligence charges against the grandfather who has been identified as Salvatore Anello.
The toddler was aboard the ship with her two siblings, parents, and four grandparents.
South Bend, Indiana police department confirmed that officer Alan Wiegand is the child’s father through a tweet Monday morning:
“The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico. The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”
Royal Caribbean officials told The Indianapolis Star that they are “deeply saddened” by Sunday’s accident.
“We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need,” Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau stated. “Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident.”
The child’s death has sparked controversy on social media with users questioning why the child was close to a window on the cruise ship, to begin with.
In an interview with NBC News, however, the grieving family said that her grandfather was in a children’s play area where he placed the child on a railing he thought was behind glass to look outside.
The family’s attorney is questioning Royal Caribbean’s role in the child’s death.
“Why in the world would you leave a window open in an entire glass wall full of windows in a kid’s area?” the family’s attorney stated on NBC.