The distraught parents of Chloe Weigand, the toddler who fell to her death from a cruise ship in San Juan earlier this month, have spoken on the accident for the first time.
The 18-month-old’s death made headlines around the world after she fell from the 11th floor of the Freedom of the Seas cruise liner while it was docked on July 7.
Initial reports suggested that little Chloe had slipped from the arms of her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, though these have since been dismissed by the family.
Now, Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kimberley Wiegand have opened up on their daughter’s passing during an interview with Savannah Guthrie on the Today Show.
Earlier this month, the loss of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, who fell through through an open window on the 11th floor of a cruise ship, appears heading toward a wrongful death suit, with claims that safety hazards were not taken seriously enough. https://t.co/kEjWRjUZxM pic.twitter.com/10i2dkqmX4
— Beers & Gordon, P.A. (@OviedoAttorney) July 23, 2019
They’ve reaffirmed that Chloe’s grandfather, Sam Anello, was with her at the time of the fall, but they continue to deny that he had been “dangling” her out of the window, as had been purported by some sources.
Instead, they say Anello had lifted her up onto a rail so that she could bang on the window like she used to at her brother’s hockey matches. What Anello wasn’t to know, however, is that there was no window, and so Chloe instead fell some 150-feet on a concrete platform below.
Monday on TODAY: @savannahguthrie’s exclusive interview with the parents of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand – the toddler who died earlier this month after falling out of a window on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. pic.twitter.com/J2JZQFOLg9
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 19, 2019
Kimberley has spoken candidly on the initial moment she learned of her daughter’s death.
“I didn’t know that she went out a window,” she said.
“And I just kept saying, ‘Take me to my baby. Where’s my baby?’ I didn’t even notice a window. I ran over there, and I looked over, and it wasn’t water down there, it was concrete. To lose our baby this way is just unfathomable.”
Chloe Wiegand, who was 18 months old, died after falling from the 11th deck of the cruise ship https://t.co/D3GfPqx4sj
— Yahoo News UK (@YahooNewsUK) July 9, 2019
“This one mother just came and held me and embraced me and I’ll never forget it,” Wiegand continued. “She just said, ‘God, watch over this family.’ I just want to thank her. I don’t know where she is or who she is.”
Anello, meanwhile, was also hysterical.
“The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass,'” Kimberly said. “He will cry over and over and over.”
Kimberly also wants to firmly refute the idea that Anello would have ever intentionally put Chloe in harm’s way.
“At no point ever, ever has Sam ever put our kids in danger,” she continued. “[He’s] very, very distraught. You can barely look at him without him crying. She was his best friend.”
Cruise ship to blame?
Debate has raged since the incident as to who and who isn’t to blame for this tragedy. There are those who believe Anello should have paid more heed to his surroundings, whilst others agree with the family in pointing the finger instead at the cruise ship.
For Kimberley and Alan, there’s no question as to whose fault it is.
“We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship,” Kimberly said.
“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?'”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Chloe Weigand. Rest in peace, little one.
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