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Death of toddler on cruise ship a 'preventable tragedy' family's attorney says

Death of toddler on cruise ship a 'preventable tragedy' family's attorney says”

He said that the toddler loved glass and windows, seeing through to the other side, and her grandfather had placed her on a ledge by a glass wall but had no idea one window within the wall was open. The South Bend Police Department said one of its officers, Alan Wiegand, is the child's father.

Winkleman says the family has retained them as a lawyer and they are looking into the possibility of filing a lawsuit.

Chloe Wiegand at the glass while her brother plays in a youth hockey game at Canlan Ice Sports in West Dundee, Illinois.

Winkleman noted that the Freedom of the Seas is an older ship on which passengers "can just slide open these windows so there's sort of an optical illusion". "But when you put it in a kids' play area, you've got to do something to let people know that these can be opened so that things like this don't happen".

"We've all seen where someone walks into glass thinking there's nothing there", Winkleman said.

Puerto Rican police earlier told The Associated Press that Chloe had slipped from her grandfather's arms while she was held outside of the window, but this report has been disputed by the family and IN police.

"He puts her up on there thinking she's going to bang on the glass and it's going to be great, he puts her up on there and she leans forward and she's gone", Winkleman said.

"Essentially her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it's clear, but it turns out there was no glass there", Michael Winkleman, a Miami-based attorney hired by Chloe's family, told the "Today" show. The girl's grandfather, Salvatore Anello, apparently lost his grip while holding her near a window on the ship, officials said.

No alcohol was involved, added Winkleman. "I know that Freedom of the Seas is an older ship, this is a ship from 2006, and I know that newer ships do not have the same configuration where passengers can not open windows so clearly this is a hidden danger".

Authorities said 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand was traveling with her parents, two siblings and two sets of grandparents aboard the Freedom of the Seas, which docked in Puerto Rico on Sunday after a weeklong trip through the Caribbean.

Meanwhile, the family remains in Puerto Rico, waiting for the authorities to release the body of their daughter and for the police to conclude due diligence on the investigation, he said.

"She was such a happy and loving child", he said.

Puerto Rican safety officials said an investigation is trying to determine whether to file negligence charges against Anello, an IT worker in South Bend.

In a statement to PEOPLE on Tuesday, the cruise line said it is "deeply saddened" by the incident.

He said the company has offered to assist the family with any resources they need, but out of respect for their privacy would not comment further.



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