Family attorney speaks after toddler falls from cruise ship in Puerto Rico

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MIAMI (WNDU) - An attorney has spoken publicly on behalf of the family of Chloe Wiegand, a 1-year-old who died while on a cruise with her family in Puerto Rico.

NBC CHICAGO

The Wiegand family attorney said the entire family is distraught and wants to set the record straight on how the toddler died.

Now, he's asking why windows that could be opened were even in a children's play area.

"If you have a wall of glass, I don't think it's unreasonable to put a child there thinking there's glass there," said Michael Winkleman, attorney for Miami-based firm Lipcon, Margulies, Alsina & Winkleman.

In a Tuesday morning news conference, Winkelman said her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, did not drop the 18-month-old from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship Sunday in Puerto Rico. Instead, she fell from a window that should never have been open.

"Generally, windows on cruise ships are certainly not a problem. When you put them in a kids area where passengers can open them, in a wall of windows, [it] creates a hidden danger unless you warn about it," Winkleman said.

He also noted that the Freedom of the Seas ship was older and made its maiden voyage in 2006. He said the newer ships have windows that don't open the same way.

When the accident happened, Chloe was playing in the kids water zone. Her grandfather placed her on a railing he thought was behind glass.

"'Terrible' is probably the euphemism of the year to describe how they're doing. And Sam, the grandfather, hasn't eaten, is barely talking," Winkleman said.

Their attorney is also trying to get surveillance video from the cruise ship and said he plans to hold the cruise line accountable for apparent negligence.

Royal Caribbean International says it is "deeply saddened" by the incident and tells NewsCenter 16, "We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR, as they make inquiries after an incident aboard Freedom of the Seas on Sunday. We do not have further information to share at this point."

A Puerto Rico Ports Authority spokesman said authorities are investigating who opened the window and why.

Chloe's body is expected to be released to her family sometime Tuesday.

The South Bend Fraternal Order of Police has launched a fundraiser for the Wiegand family.