The 18-month-old baby left behind a grieving family and a grandpa who might never be the same again.
It takes mere seconds for life to tragically change; things seem perfect one moment but all it takes is one unexpected happening, the kind you never imagine would happen, to change your life completely. For Kimberly Schultz Wiegand, life just became unbearable after she lost her own baby girl in a manner that no parent can ever come to terms with.
The entire family was in the middle of a vacation together. The 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand was enjoying the company of her parents, her brother, her paternal and maternal grandparents, and other relatives aboard the 'Freedom of the Seas' cruise ship, which is operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line, as reported by the Daily Mail.
Little Chloe, alongside her grandpa, Salvatore Anello was next to a window in the dining hall on the 11th deck of the ship while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Soon, passengers started hearing the agonizing scream as Kimberly cried in anguish. Chloe had accidentally fallen from a staggering height of 150 feet. The little girl crashed into a concrete floor. They rushed to the hospital but she was already dead.
A fellow passenger told Telemundopr, "[We heard] the screams of the families because we were close."
"I looked because of the mother's cry. That tonality, a scream of pain of that nature, does not compare with any other scream," the passenger added.
If their little girl wasn't taken away from them in such a traumatic way, the family would have been able to watch her turn two in just a few months. It's a heartbreaking time for the family and they are questioning the authorities on why there was a gap left in an area where little children are present. It was later reported that Chloe and her grandpa were hanging about in a water zone for children on the ship and not having the area securely closed may have been negligence on the part of the cruise line.
"Chloe wanted to bang on the glass" as she did during her brother's hockey games when she fell out of the window," attorney Michael Winkleman told BBC. "Her grandfather thought there was glass just like everywhere else, but there was not, and she was gone in an instant."
For Chloe's grandfather, Salvatore, to watch the little girl fall to her death is a memory he may never be able to erase. Although Salvatore is now being investigated, people vouch for the selfless heart he has. His boss told WSBT-TV, "People just love him here in the county. He's a very selfless man, he's got a servant's heart, as we say. And just one of the most wonderful human beings that you could ever meet," according to CBS News. Now, Salvatore is going to have to live with a heavy heart and may battle to overcome the grief for the rest of his life.
It's a loss that the family is forced to bear. Chloe's grandfather was "crying hysterically". They would find it unforgivable to have lost their baby girl because the cruise line was careless when it came to securing an area that was set apart for children to play in.
Michael Winkleman added, "The family needs answers as to why there would be an open window in a wall full of fixed windows in a kids' play area? Why would you have the danger without any warning, sign, or notice?"
Chloe was said to be a happy and loving child who touched everyone's lives, Michael Winkleman said, according to Today, and having her taken away from them so soon is unthinkable.