A two year old child reportedly died today after falling from deck 11 while the Royal Caribbean cruise ship was in port in San Juan.
The ship was reportedly docked at the Pan American dock II in San Juan.
There are conflicting information regarding the circumstances of the tragedy. One source (translated) states that the child “peeked into one of the windows that was open and fell,” and another newspaper reports that the child “was in the arms of his grandfather who slipped and fell.”
¡Qué terrible! Reporta @VoceroPR: La Policía informa que en horas de la tarde de hoy una menor, de dos años, falleció tras caer del undécimo piso del crucero Freedom of the Seas atracado en el muelle Panamericano II en San Juan. #PuertoRico 😔 https://t.co/3FElyUvLJD
— Robby Cortés🇵🇷 (@RobbyCortes) July 7, 2019
The police in San Juan are reportedly investigating the accident.
There have been relatively few situations where toddlers have fallen from upper decks on cruise ships. In 2012, a 14 month old toddler fell from deck 12 to deck 11 on the Monarch of the Seas and was injured. The ship turned around and returned to Port Canaveral, Florida, where the child received urgent medical care and recovered.
As expected, Royal Caribbean is moving to dismiss the case on the grounds that there is no evidence that it had notice of a dangerous condition and the sole proximate cause is the action of the grandfather raising the infant to and through the open window and holding her outside of the window.
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Update: According to the family, the child was one and one-half years old, and would have had her second birthday this December.
July 8, 2019 Update: “Police said Monday that the grandfather of the 1-year old girl from Indiana told officers he lost his grip while holding her outside a window on the 11th story of the Freedom of the Seas,” via ABC News.
July 9, 2019 Update: “Her grandfather lifts her up and puts her on a railing and where he thinks that there is glass there because it’s clear, but it turns out there was no glass there,”the family’s attorney tells NBC Today show via USA Today.
July 12, 2019 Update: “But Miami-based maritime lawyer Jim Walker says proving negligence won’t be an easy feat for the family. ‘In order for a cruise line to be legally liable for this child’s death, the family’s lawyer must prove that the cruise line acted unreasonably and that the cruise line knew or should have known of the specific danger on its ship,’ he told news.com.au. ‘This will be an exceedingly difficult burden for the lawyer to meet in this very sad and tragic set of circumstances. Without evidence (prior incidents or proof that the cruise line knew of a dangerous condition on the cruise ship) the chances are slim that the court (if suit is filed) would permit this case to proceed to a jury trial,’ he added” via News.com.au’s CCTV is missing piece that will solve how baby Chloe plunged to her death.
January 17, 2010 Update: Royal Caribbean filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it. Here is a link to the lawsuit. Here is a link to the cruise line’s motion to dismiss.
October 2020 Update: Grandfather pleads guilty to criminal homicide.
February 2021 Update:
Judge in San Juan, Puerto Rico sentences grandfather to three years probation.
Family’s lawyer files motion for sanctions (seeking striking of Royal Caribbean’s defenses) for destroying “critical CCTV footage of the time leading up to the incident.”
Photo credit: Freedom of the Seas -By Beyond My Ken – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia; Royal Caribbean via theindychannel.