Indiana parents Alan and Kimberly Wiegand discussed the tragic death of their 18-month-old daughter Chloe, who fell from a window on a cruise ship in Puerto Rico on July 7, during an emotional interview with the Today Show's Savannah Guthrie. Following the interview's broadcast on Monday, thousands of viewers quickly responded to the interview, with many sending their condolences to the parents.
Watch Kimberly and Alan Wiegand’s exclusive full interview with @savannahguthrie about the tragic death of their daughter, Chloe, who fell from a docked Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
“She just exuded love.” pic.twitter.com/tB9SLkk3ar— TODAY (@TODAYshow) July 22, 2019
The Wiegands blamed Royal Caribbean, the operators of the Freedom of the Season cruise ship, for their daughter's death earlier this month. Chloe fell through an open window on the 11th floor of the ship when it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The couple said the accident happened after Chloe's grandfather placed her on a railing he believed was behind a glass wall.
"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," Kimberly told Guthrie. "I know my mom was asking people, 'Why on earth is there a window open on the 11th floor without a screen or anything?'"
Are you kidding me? How do not notice a big window not being open! What was wrong with him. Kids dont need to be up in the air to tap on a window. She could look out the bottom window. Some people are not intelligent enough to notice danger. He should have been holding the kid.— RamFan (@GiantinAZ) July 22, 2019
Kimberly said she was told they "need ventilation."
"Well, to that I would say, 'Get a fan. Come up with some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life,'" Kimberly said.
She later recalled the shocking moment when she discovered what happened to her daughter.
I don't even know how this family is coping. I can see how this happened and understand how he thought the window was closed. Personally, I would have never placed a child that close the window. I'm very afraid of heights.— GOPhers 🌊🇺🇸 (@willfulbitch) July 22, 2019
"I didn't know that she went out a window. And I just kept saying, 'Take me to my baby. Where's my baby?' I didn't even notice a window," she said. "I ran over there, and I looked over, and it wasn't water down there, it was concrete. To lose our baby this way is just unfathomable."
Kimberly said they knew Chloe was "destined to do such great things," and her first was "Hi."
Chloe's grandfather is "very, very distraught," Kimberly said. "She was his best friend."
It’s very easy to play armchair expert. The window should NOT have been open in the children’s play area....that really is the crux of the issue, because you have to ask the question: could this little girl have climbed up on a chair and fallen on her own and the answer is yes.— Zoila Painter (@zcpainter) July 22, 2019
"We'll never forget her," Alan told Guthrie. "She's part of our soul that's not there any more."
The couple plans to take Royal Caribbean to court to make sure this never happens to another family.0comments
"We are deeply saddened by this incident, and our hearts go out to the family," Royal Caribbean said in a statement. "We have assisted the authorities in San Juan with their inquiries, and they are the appropriate people to address further questions."
Looking at a photo from the outside of the ship, why did grandpa lift the child to the higher window? Why not let her look out of the bottom window? Why let her bang on glass that's not hockey glass strong? How do you not notice the window is open? pic.twitter.com/IWFiVfssyH— MizQue (@MizQue) July 22, 2019
I was on the ship when this happened. It was devastating for all. My heart breaks for this family and I hope they can find peace! Over the coarse of the week everyone I talked to could not figure out why anyone would lift a child to look out. They were high and obviously open.— Carrie Stewart (@carriekstewart) July 22, 2019
Today viewers were divided on the situation. Some blamed the parents and the grandfather, others offered sympathy to the family.