The recent story about the toddler who died after falling on a cruise ship is heartbreaking. It was very much a horrific accident that reminds everyone of how easily a freak accident can happen. Now that they've buried their daughter, the parents of Chloe Wiegand are speaking out. Sitting down with Savannah Guthrie on the TODAY Show, they were open about the struggle to understand what happened.
Chloe Wiegand was with her grandfather Sam in the children's play area of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship while it was docked in Puerto Rico. She wanted to look over railing and tap on the glass as she'd done before. Her older brother plays hockey, and she would go to his games, banging on the glass in excitement. After lifting her onto the railing, when she leaned forward and fell 11 stories.
“He was extremely hysterical. The thing that he has repeatedly told us is, ‘I believed that there was glass,’ ” Kimberley Wiegand says, speaking of the grandfather. She adds that he has never put her children in danger and still cries because of what happened. Alan Wiegand explains that Chloe was Sam's "best friend."
Learning of her daughter's death, Kimberly Wiegand says she was not aware of how the girl died. “I just saw Sam standing next to the wall of windows by the kids’ splash pad, screaming and banging on it.” She remembers an employee for Royal Caribbean trying to stop her from approaching. In her rush to find out what was happening, she didn't even notice the window herself.
“We obviously blame them,” she says, referring to Royal Caribbean. A spokesperson for the company says they are "deeply saddened" by in the incident in a statement to PEOPLE. While they are working with local authorities in Puerto Rico, they will not comment further on what exactly that means.
According to Kimberly, when she asked the Royal Caribbean crew about the window, their response was a need for ventilation. "Come up with some other mechanism to make your guests comfortable, rather than creating a tremendous safety hazard that cost our child her life," she says.
Obviously, the family is still wrapping their heads around the tragedy. But they will never forget their little girl. "She’s part of our soul that’s not there anymore,” Alan Wiegand says. Kimberly adds, “We have to go on for her. We can’t give up.”