An 18-month-old child fell to her death on Sunday from the deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Chloe Wiegand from Indiana plunged 150 feet from the Royal Caribbean vessel in San Juan on Sunday afternoon.
A spokesperson for the Port Authority, José Carmona said the girl was playing with her grandfather in a dining hall on deck 11 of the cruise ship named, Freedom of the Seas, when the incident happened.
There are large windows in the dining hall and one pane was open. Port Authority spokesman José Carmona said the grandfather sat the girl in the window and lost his balance.
She slipped from her maternal grandfather Salvatore Anello’s arms. “Sadly, she died on impact,” Carmona said.
South Bend Police Department reported that the toddler’s father is an American police officer in South Bend, Indiana.
The Police department tweeted “its sincerest condolences” to the officer and his family “during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico.” The department also asked the community to pray for and to respect the privacy of the entire family.
— South Bend Police (@southbendpolice) July 8, 2019
The toddler had traveled to San Juan from the mainland with her parents, siblings and four grandparents. They had recently boarded the ship, which can carry more than 4,500 passengers, including crew.
The ship was scheduled to depart for a weeklong voyage at 8:30 p.m. Sunday; the fall happened about 5 p.m., according to Carmona.
“We are deeply saddened by yesterday’s tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family,” Royal Caribbean Cruises said. “We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need. Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident.”
Carmona said the incident is preliminarily determined to be an accident, but that the police is still investigating it. The girl’s body was taken to a forensic unit in San Juan.
Falls from cruise ships are not uncommon. A man was seen on Thursday falling overboard about 30 miles northwest of Cuba from cruise ship named Carnival Victory, CNN reported.
The US Coast Guard searched for the 37-year-old man for more than 45 hours but did not find him, and they suspended the search.
A British cruise ship worker fell overboard from a cruise ship on Christmas day last year, Dailymail reported. He fell off the ship 267 miles northwest of Aguadilla in Puerto Rico.
In 2012, a Tennessee woman fell off a cruise ship in the Atlantic Ocean, Daiymail also reported. A’riel Brianna Marion, 21, fell off the Allure of the Seas cruise ship about 47 miles east of Fort Lauderdale on Sept. 16, 2012 not long after the Royal Caribbean-owned liner had left Port Everglades.
“Every cruise ship has a safety plan,” and “they are required to give a safety brief, a spokesman of The Coast Guard, Jonathan Lally said.
The Coast Guard “strongly advises” passengers who board ships to follow all safety rules and plans, he added.