The Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas was docked after a seven-day Caribbean cruise, and Salvatore Anello was with his granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, in a children's play area that was mostly enclosed by clear glass paneling.
What's not in dispute is Chloe, with her family on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was in grandfather Sam Anello's grasp Sunday morning before she fell 11 stories to her death.
Winkleman's office said the girl's family remained in Puerto Rico on Tuesday, waiting for their child's body to be released, and they hope to return home to in once that happens.
Chloe was traveling with her parents, her 10-year-old brother and her grandparents. Winkleman said the family is "understandably too distraught to talk" about the tragedy. As he describes it, the toddler's tragic death is unlike numerous original reports circling the internet.
While initial reports from police claimed that baby Chloe had fallen out of her grandfathers arms, the family claims that Chloe was sat on a railing near a wall in a children's area while on a cruise to Puerto Rico. "And there's a whole wall of windows". "The grandfather thought it was entirely glass".
Winkleman raised questions as to why there was an open window without warning signs.
He says Chloe's grandfather lifted her, believing the window was closed, and "she was gone in an instant".
Mr Winkleman told reporters the family felt "terrible", and that Mr Anello was "crying hysterically" when they spoke.
Asked if the grandfather had been drinking, he added: "There was absolutely no alcohol involved, Sam is not a drinker".
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The Coast Guard does not estimate the total number of falls from ship decks each year, spokesman Jonathan Lally said. "There are federal laws and federal standards that are created to specifically prevent against this - things like using screens, things like using grids, things like limiting the amount that a window can open".
"We are deeply saddened by yesterday's tragic incident, and our hearts go out to the family", a Royal Caribbean representative told Business Insider on Monday.
Royal Caribbean's statement to U.S. media noted that the company has made a "Care Team available to assist the family with any resources they need".
Also on Tuesday, the spokesperson toldNBC News that the cruise line was cooperating with local authorities in the investigation, but did not comment on Winkleman's statements.
But there was an opening in the glass wall, Winkleman told NBC News.
"We've all seen where someone walks into glass thinking there's nothing there", Winkleman said. This is the inverse of that.
It was reasonable for him to think this was all glass.
Winkleman is hoping to gain access to the ship and to surveillance footage of the incident.