The toddler is believed to have fallen from a window on the 11th deck – shown above the balconies – on Sunday afternoon
A toddler has fallen to her death after slipping out of her grandfather’s arms on a cruise ship which was docked in Puerto Rico.
The 19-month-old girl from Indiana plunged 150 feet from the Royal Caribbean vessel in San Juan on Sunday afternoon.
Her maternal grandfather, identified as Salvatore Anello, is believed to have slipped and fallen while holding the toddler by a window on the 11th deck of the Freedom of the Seas ship.
Horrified passengers said they had heard a ‘cry of pain’ from the girl’s mother.
‘[We heard] the screams of the families because we were close,’ a nearby passenger told Telemundo PR.
‘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 girl had a hard landing on the concrete of the Pan American dock in San Juan and died in hospital shortly afterwards.
The child and her extended family from Indiana were vacationing together aboard the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship, operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line.
Both her sets of grandparents, her parents and her younger brother were on board the ship at the time.
The child’s father has been identified by WSBT as South Bend police officer Alan Wiegand.
The South Bend Police Department in Indiana said in a statement: ‘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.’
The police chief Scott Ruszkowski disputed the statement issued by Puerto Rico police that the girl was being held out of an 11th-floor window.
Police Sgt Nelson Sotelo told The Associated Press that the family of the child will remain in the US territory until the investigation is complete.
‘They’re in shock,’ he said.
Department of Public Security official Elmer Román said the grandfather was playing a game with the child when she slipped from his arms.
The homicide division was investigating the death, he said.
‘It has not been possible to interview the family,’ he said, adding that they were being provided with medical and spiritual support.
El Vocero reported the grandfather was holding the child when he slipped and fell into the window, and the child then fell from his arms to her death.
People claiming to be familiar with the layout of the ship in an online forum said the 11th deck is a pool deck on the cruise ship, which would be the only place on the ship that would have open windows.
The call to authorities came in reporting the child’s fatal drop at 4.27pm Atlantic Standard Time, according to Primera Hora.
A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. told DailyMail.com: ‘We are assisting local authorities in San Juan, PR as they make inquiries after an incident aboard Freedom of the Seas earlier today.
‘We do not have further information to share at this point.’
Security camera footage from the ship has been requested by Prosecutor Ivette Nieves, who was conducting interviews with the passengers who observed the tragic fall.