Earlier this summer, the Wiegand family experienced an unthinkable tragedy when their child, Chloe Wiegand, died while aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise line. The family spoke out about the incident for the first time on Today on Tuesday, July 23. During the exclusive interview, Kimberly Wiegand, Chloe’s mother, told Savannah Guthrie that Royal Caribbean’s lack of safety precautions “cost our child her life.”
18-month-old Chloe died after falling through an open window on the 11th floor of the ship that had no screen. The surrounding windows were allegedly closed in, leading the family to believe they were all secure.
“We obviously blame them for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship. There are a million things that could’ve been done to make that safer,” Wiegand said. “I know my mom was asking people, ‘Why on earth is there a window open on the 11th floor without a screen or anything.”
When Wiegand brought that to the attention of Royal Caribbean staff, they responded, “We need ventilation.” Wiegand argues that they could have chosen to get a fan or use “some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard.”
The family is now looking to hold Royal Caribbean responsible. “There’s no doubt it was an accident,” said Mike Winkleman, the family’s attorney. “Really the singular question is, were there safety measures that could have been in place and should have been in place?”
Royal Caribbean responded to Today’s request for comment, saying, “We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family. We have assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries, and they are the appropriate people to address further questions.”
The Puerto Rico Department of Justice shared that the investigation is nearing its completion and that no further comment could be made at this time.
When I’m not hanging out with my three-year-old and husband in Brooklyn, I’m busy writing stories for Mamas Uncut and managing PR + Marketing for Magnolia Bakery, based in New York City. On weekends, you can usually find me at a local park or playground pushing my daughter on the swings, “researching” the best almond croissants in Park Slope or launching into impromptu family dance parties at home, the sidewalk or, every once in awhile, a restaurant bathroom. I’m still trying to master the whole parenting thing, but I have learned that copious amounts of coffee, humor and humility are involved on a daily basis.