Cruise ship is holding back 'critical' surveillance footage of 18-month-old Indiana girl's fall, says family lawyer
Chloe Wiegand fell from an eleventh-story window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship called Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico
The cruise involved in the tragic death of the 18-month-old toddler from Indiana has reportedly not yet handed over the surveillance footage of Sunday's tragic incident, according to the family's lawyer.
Chloe Wiegand fell from an eleventh-story window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship called Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico after her grandfather Salvatore Anello placed her on a railing, not realizing that there was no glass behind her.
Reports state that the girl was playing with her grandfather when the tragedy occurred.
Michael Winkelman, a maritime attorney acting for the family, said that Chloe liked to bang on the glass at her brother's hockey games, and her grandfather at the time thought she was about to do the same when she fell through an open window.
Puerto Rico police are currently probing the incident and any potential negligence on part of Chloe's family.
However, Winkelman has instead accused the cruise ship operator of having an open window in a child's area without any warning signs.
The family's lawyer reportedly wants to see the surveillance footage of the dining hall as part of his investigation into exactly what happened.
Winkelman is looking to file a negligence suit on behalf of the distraught family after the procedure is complete.
"We still have not received the footage despite repeated requests to Royal Caribbean. This is certainly the most critical piece of evidence," Winkleman told Newsweek.
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told the outlet that she had no update on the company's previous statement released on Thursday. "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," the company statement said.
The incident's initial report had suggested that Anello dropped his granddaughter from the window after a police statement saying that she had slipped from his grasp. The family, however, has denied this account.
Winkleman, in a press conference on Tuesday, said that he had an "incredibly tearful conversation" with Anello, who was so hysterical after the tragedy that he had to be sedated. He was repeatedly crying, "I thought it was like she was at a hockey game," referring to the toddler's liking of banging on the glass.
"If this was the Michael Jackson story, where Michael Jackson's hanging the baby out there, clearly the parent was negligent, no question about it," Winkleman told reporters. "But here, if you have a wall of glass, I don't think it's unreasonable to put a child there thinking there was glass there."
"Why in the world would you leave a window open in an entire glass wall of windows in a kids' area? Why would you have that kind of hidden danger without any warning, without any sign, without any notice?" the attorney added.
"I think there is going to be blame and significant blame on the cruise line and I'm going to do everything I can to hold them accountable for what appears to be negligence."