Toddler dead after tragic cruise ship accident

The world's largest cruise ship the Freedom of the Seas arrives of Calshot Castle in Southampton Water. Photo: Getty Images
The incident occurred on cruise ship 'Freedom of the Seas' at the beginning of a Caribbean sailing. Photo: Getty Images

An 18-month-old girl fell to her death after allegedly being dropped from the window of a ship by her grandfather.

Her American mother Kimberley Schultz Wiegand was allegedly heard "screaming in pain" as her child fell from the cabin of the 11th floor of the Royal Caribbean ship, Freedom of the Seas.

The Royal Caribbean cruise was docked in Puerto Rico when the child's grandfather, identified by USA Today as Salvatore Anello, allegedly dangled the child out of the window.

The child fell onto concrete of the San Juan dockyard below. The fatal drop from the 11th storey was around 46 metres.

The child was immediately taken to hospital at 4:30pm on Monday, where she was pronounced dead.

According to the Primer Hora newspaper the child was on holiday with her grandparents, two siblings, mother Kimberly and father who was identified as Indiana police officer Alan Wiegand.

The ship Freedom of the Seas had not yet departed Puerto Rico for its first stop in St Maarten when the incident occurred.

According to local Puerto Rican police, the grandfather is currently under investigation.

Elmer Román of the San Juan Department of Public Security said "Police have now launched an investigation and are trawling CCTV of the ship.

"At this time (the Division of) Homicide is in place. It has not been possible to interview the family.

"It is a very strong scene, very sad and tragic.

"At one point, one of her grandparents ... in an act of games, exposes the girl to the void and [she] falls out of his hands."

Royal Caribbean said it was "deeply saddened" by the event.

"We've made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need," spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Melissa Charbonneau told The Indianapolis Star. "Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident."

This death marks the second fatal fall from a Royal Caribbean ship this year.

  • In January 16-year-old Laurent Mercer from the French overseas territory of Wallis and Futuna died trying to gain access to his room via the balcony.
  • According to the Sun Sentinel the young boy had locked himself out of his cabin on Harmony of the Seas while the ship was in port in Labddee, Haiti.
  • In October 2017, The Washington Post reported that an 8-year-old girl died falling seven metres onto a lower deck as the Carnival cruise ship she was on arrived in Miami.

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