Indiana toddler dies in fall from grandfather's arms on cruise ship | News Coverage from USA

Indiana toddler dies in fall from grandfather’s arms on cruise ship

INDIANAPOLIS – A 1-year-old girl who is the daughter of an Indiana police officer died Sunday when authorities say she slipped from her grandfather’s hands and fell from a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico.

According to the Associated Press, the maternal grandfather, identified as Salvatorre Anello, told officers he lost his grip while holding the girl outside a window on the 11th story of the Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, police said Monday.

The girl’s father has been identified by the South Bend Police Department as Officer Alan Wiegand. The family was from Granger, Indiana, according to authorities. 

Police Sgt. Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press that the family of the child will remain in the U.S. territory until the investigation is complete. He said officers have not been able to interview any relatives yet.

“They’re in shock,” he said.

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Authorities said the girl was traveling with her parents, two siblings and two sets of grandparents aboard the Freedom of the Seas, which docked in Puerto Rico Sunday after a weeklong trip through the Caribbean. The death occurred Sunday afternoon at the Panamerican dock in the capital of San Juan.

Authorities say the child fell from the 11th story of the cruise ship. According to deck plans, the 11th floor is home to the pool area, restaurants and the spa. 

Sotelo said Anello of Valparaiso, Indiana, is under investigation.

Royal Caribbean Cruises said it was “deeply saddened” by Sunday’s accident.

 “We’ve made our Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need,” Royal Caribbean spokeswoman Melissa Charbonneau said in an email to The Indianapolis Star. “Out of respect for their privacy, we do not plan to comment further on the incident.”

The South Bend Police Department issued the following statement Monday morning:

“The South Bend Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to Officer Alan Wiegand and his family during this difficult time following the tragic loss of their child while in Puerto Rico. The department asks the community to pray for the entire Wiegand family as they grieve and to respect their privacy.”

Elmer Román, Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Security secretary, told Primera Hora that the grandfather was holding the girl out of a window when she fell from his hands.

Reports conflicted on whether the child fell from a window or a balcony. 

Contributing: The Associated Press. Follow Vic Ryckaert and Justin L. Mack on Twitter: @VicRyc and @justinlmack

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