The 19-month-old girl plunged 150 feet from the vessel in San Juan on Sunday

 

The toddler is believed to have fallen from a window on the 11th deck - shown above the balconies - on Sunday afternoon

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.

A diagram showing how the girl fell 150 feet from the ship's 11th deck on to the hard ground

‘[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.’

 A map showing San Juan in Puerto Rico where the girl fell to her death

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.

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MSC Cruises Donates School in Rebuilding Caribbean

Virgin Gorda, British Virgin IslandsPHOTO: The semi-permanent school will serve the island of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. (photo via Flickr/kansas photo)
MSC Cruises continues to assist in the rebuild of the Caribbean following September’s devastating hurricanes.

The Swiss-based cruise line announced Thursday that it has joined forces with government officials in the British Virgin Islands to donate a new 4,000 square-foot, the pre-fabricated building that will function as a semi-permanent school on the island of Virgin Gorda.

All 15 of the territory’s schools were destroyed in the recent hurricanes.

“It is our responsibility as a family-owned company in the seafaring business for more than 300 years, to come to the aid of our family, friends and neighbours in dire times,” said MSC Cruises USA chairman, Richard Sasso in a statement. “This donation is one of many ways we are working to set the industry standard to help those who need it most and we’re proud to utilize our global resources to assist as the Caribbean works to recover and rebuild.”

The donation represents just one example of MSC Cruises’ ongoing effort to restore the British Virgin Islands and the surrounding Caribbean as a whole.

“With most cruise ports in the Caribbean region now open for business, MSC Cruises, along with other players in the cruise industry, are working to support local governments in their efforts to restore normality and rebuild the damaged infrastructures on the islands impacted,” the cruise line stated on its website.

With the help of its global network of partners, MSC Cruises has already helped ship food, water, medical supplies and building materials to the British Virgin Islands as well as hard-hit places in Puerto Rico, St. Maarten and Dominica.

The cruise line recently provided shipping services to bring emergency lighting to Puerto Rico.

Another aspect of the global cruise’s effort to assist the islands is by ultimately returning to the coveted destinations.

Travelers seeking a holiday sailing to the Caribbean with MSC Cruises this December can have their pick of the MSC Divina or the brand new MSC Seaside.

Click here to learn more about some of the ways MSC Cruises is aiding in the Caribbean’s recovery.

Disney to Expand San Diego Season in 2019

Disney Wonder

Disney Cruise Line will offer an expanded two-month season from San Diego in 2019, sailing to Baja and the Mexican Riviera as the company today announced some of its 2019 deployment.

There are also cruises to Southern Caribbean from San Juan, Puerto Rico, according to the company. From January to May, all cruises departing from Florida feature a stop at Castaway Cay.

Bookings open to the public on Nov. 2, 2017.

More details on 2019 itineraries can be found on the Ports and Itineraries for 2019 page of disneycruise.com.

The Disney Wonder returns to San Diego for an extended season from March to May 2019, with a variety of cruises to Mexico, including two-, four-, five- and seven-night voyages.

Most sailings to Mexico’s Baja peninsula call on Ensenada. Two-night cruises to Ensenada boast Friday departures from San Diego for a weekend experience.

Four- and five-night Baja options include a visit to Cabo San Lucas.

Seven-night sailings to the Mexican Riviera call on Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlán.

In January, three special Disney Wonder cruises from San Juan sail to the Southern Caribbean. The Disney Wonder arrives in San Juan after a five-night journey departing Jan. 9 from Galveston, Texas, with a stop in Falmouth, Jamaica.

On Feb. 3, a four-night cruise aboard the Disney Wonder takes guests from San Juan to Port Canaveral, Florida.

The Disney Fantasy continues to sail seven-night Caribbean voyages, with Eastern Caribbean itineraries visiting the Virgin Islands of Tortola and St. Thomas, and Western Caribbean cruises calling on Cozumel, Mexico, Grand Cayman and Falmouth.

The Disney Dream embarks on three- and four-night Bahamian cruises to Nassau and Castaway Cay and the Disney Wonder will alternate similar three- and four-night itineraries throughout February.

To kick off 2019, the Disney Magic continues sailing from Miami with four- and five-night voyages to the Bahamas, plus five-night Western Caribbean cruises.