Toddler Dies After Grandfather Drops Her 150 Feet On Cruise Ship
An American girl has reportedly died after falling from a Freedom of the Seas cruise ship in Puerto Rico.
A public security official in Puerto Rico told the Primera Hora newspaper that it happened when the child, 1 1/2 years old, was being held out a window by her grandfather on the 11th deck of the cruise ship docked Sunday in San Juan. According to preliminary information, the girl slipped from his hands, hit the boat and hit the pavement.
"It's a very grave scene, very regrettable and tragic," Elmer Roman of the Puerto Rican Department of Public Security told Primera Hora, according to CBS News. "One of the grandfathers, whom it would appear was playing with the little girl, lifted her out of the open window and lost his grip."
A passenger told Telemundo PR that the girl's mother could be heard screaming.
“I looked because of the mother’s cry,” the witness said. “That tonality, a scream of pain of that nature, does not compare with any other scream.”
Owen Torres, corporate communications manager for Royal Caribbean, told CBS News that the cruise operator was "deeply saddened by yesterday's tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family."
The ship was held at the dock for hours after the incident due to an investigation.
According to Yahoo News, it was reported that the child is from Indiana and that she had been on vacation with her extended family.
Fox News reported the boat has a height of about 210 feet and the 11th floor would have been around 150 feet above land when the ship was docked.
Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press that the family of the child will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation is complete. He said officers have not been able to interview any relatives yet.
“They’re in shock,” he said.
Authorities said the girl was traveling with her parents, two siblings and two sets of grandparents.
Sotelo said the toddler’s maternal grandfather, Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, Indiana, is under investigation. He said the rest of the family is from Granger, Indiana.
The police chief of South Bend, Indiana, Scott Ruszkowski, confirmed to WSBT television that the girl was the daughter of Officer Alan Wiegand, and the department issued a statement saying it “asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”
Ruszkowski disputed the statement issued by Puerto Rico police that the girl was being held out of a window.