A one-year-old American girl slipped from her grandfather’s hands and fell to her death off a docked cruise ship in Puerto Rico, authorities said Monday.
The man sat his grandchild on the edge of a window on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship when he lost his grip and she fell, police told The Associated Press. The child fell the equivalent of 11 storeys and died.
Officials are investigating whether the window was already opened or if someone had opened it, according to the Puerto Rico Ports Authority.
The incident happened Sunday afternoon with the cruise ship docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The young girl was on a trip with her parents, two siblings and both sets of grandparents, according to Sgt. Nelson Sotelo. The entire family lives in Indiana.
“They’re in shock,” Sotelo told The Associated Press on Monday.
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He said the girl’s maternal grandfather, Salvatore Anello, is under investigation. The rest of the family will remain in Puerto Rico until the investigation is complete.
The child’s father, Alan Wiegand, is a police officer in South Bend, Indiana.
The department offered its “sincerest condolences” to Wiegand and his family in a statement issued Monday. “The department asks the community to pray for the Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”
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Royal Caribbean Cruises called the incident “tragic,” and said it is providing the family with assistance. The company declined additional comment.
The Freedom of the Seas has 15 decks and can carry up to 4,515 guests, according to the Royal Caribbean Cruises’ website. The vessel is approximately 64 metres tall, according to the ship-monitoring website Ship Technology.
The cruise ship left port on a modified itinerary Sunday night.
An investigation is ongoing.
—With files from The Associated Press
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