Things That Matter

Story Of Little Girl Who Fell From Cruise Ship In Puerto Rico Takes A Twist As Family Blames The Cruise Line For Her Death

Kimberly Wiegand / Facebook

A little girl fell eleven stories to her death from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship over the weekend. Initial reports said that her grandfather had been dangling her out the window a la Michael Jackson but now her family is disputing that claim.

They’ve also lawyered up and now the story is taking a totally different turn as the family blames the cruise line for an alleged broken window.

Tragedy strikes aboard a cruise ship in Puerto Rico has a 1-year-old toddler was dropped to her death.

Credit: @nbc4i / Twitter

A 1-year-old girl apparently slipped from her grandfather’s hands and fell to her death from the 11th story of a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico, police said Monday.

Police Sergeant Nelson Sotelo said the family of the child will remain in the US territory until the investigation is complete. He said officers have not been able to interview any relatives yet.

Authorities said the girl was traveling with her parents, two siblings, and two sets of grandparents aboard the Freedom of the Seas, which docked in Puerto Rico on Sunday after a weeklong trip through the Caribbean. The girl’s death occurred Sunday afternoon at the Panamerican dock in the capital of San Juan.

Initial reports said that the girl slipped while being held out the window by her grandfather.

Credit: @NYDailyNews / Twitter

According to local police in Puerto Rico, 1-year-old Chloe Wiegand apparently slipped from her grandfather’s hands on Sunday while he was holding her out of an 11th-floor window on the Freedom of the Seas.

However, according to the victim’s family, the police have the story all wrong.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

This is not “like the Michael Jackson story, where he was dangling the child out the window,” said the attorney for the family whose toddler fell to her death from a cruise ship window this weekend.

The grandfather of 18-month old Chloe Wiegand didn’t dangle and drop her — she fell because an open glass pane should have been closed securely, said attorney Michael Winkleman at a news conference on Tuesday.

Instead, the family is blaming the cruise line because of an alleged broken window.

Credit: @DailyMail / Twitter

Chloe Wiegand’s family blames Royal Caribbean for what they say was negligence in her fatal fall Sunday from the docked boat in Puerto Rico, the “Today” show reported Tuesday.

Reactions on Twitter were mixed with some people saying the cruise ship can’t be blamed…

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Many thought it would be nearly impossible to not realize that the window was open. They weren’t buiying the story from the family that the window wasn’t shut and this is what led to the little girl’s death.

While others came to the family’s defense.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

Some on Twitter denied that the family could be after money – pointing out they had just lost a child and no money can help heal that loss. While other’s pointed out that the ship should have had better safety features in place to prevent something like this from happening in the first place.

A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

Culture

A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

screenshot taken from Orlando Sentinel

When hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans came together to demand former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign following leaked chats that revealed political corruption and a series of sexist and homophobic messages, Frances Santiago wanted to stand in solidarity with her people. Living in Kissimmee, Florida, she wasn’t able to protest with her country folk on the archipelago but she demonstrated symbolically by placing her red, white and blue Puerto Rican flag outside of her home. 

Now, the Central Florida Boricua is facing a battle against her own community leaders. Three weeks after putting up the flag, the homeowner received a letter from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association requesting her to take it down. 

Santiago, an Army veteran who served 14 years as a medic, including two tours in Iraq, says she refuses to remove the flag.

“I fought for this, to be able to do this. So, I don’t see a problem with flying my flag here,” the woman told Orlando-area news station WFTV.

According to HOA bylaws, all flags are outlawed. However, the board made an exception for US flags, sports flags and flags used to honor first responders and fallen officers. Considering these edicts, Santiago is unsure why the group is asking her to remove the flag, as Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.

“Puerto Rico is part of America. What’s the big issue with us having our flag there,” she said.

HOA president Norma McNerney told  WFTV that she’s not asking the Santiago family to remove the flag because it’s from Puerto Rico; however, she did not comment on the island being the colonial property of the US and, thus, meeting the association’s criterion. 

“We treat all owners the same. If you travel through our community, you will see the only flags are those regulated by the state,” McNerney said.

Puerto Ricans have historically been banned from displaying their flag. 

While many tease that Boricuas exhibit their bandera on anything and everything, from their cars and house goods to their clothes and accessories, owning a Puerto Rican flag wasn’t legal until 1957. Nine years prior, on June 10, 1948, la Ley de La Mordaza, better known as the gag law, made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic song or speak or write of independence. The legislation, signed into law by Jesús T. Piñero, the United States-appointed governor, aimed at suppressing the growing movement to liberate Puerto Rico from its colonial ties to the United States. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years in prison, be fined $10,000 or both.

Additionally, in Kissimmee, which locals nicknamed “Little Puerto Rico” because of its vast Puerto Rican population, there has been pushback from community members who are not pleased with the demographic changes. City-Data forums warn people interested in moving to Central Florida to beware of Puerto Ricans, who commenters refer to as “roaches,” “criminals,” and the N-word, while news of attacks against Boricuas has become more common. Florida is home to more Puerto Ricans in the contiguous US than any other state. Most of the population resides in the Orlando-Kissimmee area. The region has been the top destination for Puerto Ricans escaping the financial crisis since 2008 and displacement following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. But it is also the prime journey stop for diasporic Puerto Ricans from New York, Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. The area is among the largest and fastest-growing Puerto Rican communities in the country.

As such, Central Florida Boricuas have rallied around Santiago. An online petition created by the Florida Puerto Rican group Alianza for Progress is asking the HOA to cease their discriminatory practices against Santiago and is already close to meeting its goal of 1,600 signatures. At the time of writing, it is short just 51 names.

Santiago and her husband Efrain have insisted that they have no intention of bringing the flag down.

“[The flag] will stay there and we’ll deal with it; we’ll exhaust every avenue possible,” Efrain said. “We have our house, you see, up to standards. We’re not doing anything wrong. We’re not doing anything to our neighbors by flying our flag.”

While the Santiagos haven’t presently been issued any fines for the violation, they said they do have a lawyer and are prepared to take this fight to protect their freedom further. “I’m proud of my roots, who I am, [where] I come from. We’re not offending anyone. None of the neighbors were offended with us putting the flag there,” Efrain said.

Read: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

Parade Attendees In Medellín Watched In Horror As Two Airmen Plummeted To Their Deaths During A Stunt

Things That Matter

Parade Attendees In Medellín Watched In Horror As Two Airmen Plummeted To Their Deaths During A Stunt

Aerial shows are something people around the world enjoy. Some people make full weekends out of these events that are typically tied to some kind of patriotic holiday or community event. However, an aerial show in Colombia this weekend showed the danger of participating in this kind of event. The terrifying and heartbreaking moment was captured on camera and the video is as scary and heartwrenching as it sounds. Two airmen were hanging on a Colombian flag suspended from a helicopter as it flew over a parade when the unthinkable happened. Without warning, the rope holding the flag snaps sending the two airmen plummeting to the ground in front of spectators.

On Sunday, two Colombian airmen died while attempting to do a stunt in the sky during a public gathering.

Credit: YouTube

According to several outlets, the men were performing a stunt at the Medellin Flower Fair in Colombia. The trick, which at first began very beautiful, included a cable hanging from a helicopter. The men were also attached to this same cable along with the Colombia flag. It looked almost like a patriotic parade in the sky, but then things went horribly wrong.

The video shows the cable somehow snapped off of the helicopter and the two men plunged to their death.

Credit: YouTube

It remains unclear how this tragic accident occurred. According to the Sun, an Air Force spokesperson said, “The reasons behind this painful accident are still being investigated by the authorities.” The event also happened near the Olaya Herrera Airport, which as a result of the accident had to be closed.

The men were identified as Jesus Mosquera and Sebastian Gamboa Ricaurte who were based in Rionegro in Antioquia. The shocking death has left a community mourning and searching for answers on how this could have happened.

The video has been shared far and wide on social media. 

Credit: @ErikaJournal / Twitter

“Horrific,” one person said. “Sad, as I don’t understand the need for stunts like this. Awful way to go.” “There should have been the strictest safety protocols in place, no doubt there were none… RIP,” another said. “I never liked stunts like that. It’s just not worth it,” another said. And we agree with that sentiment exactly. Yes, ideally, a stunt like this would have been stunning, and it truly began that way, but something is quite off about how this trick went off. 

According to the Daily Mail, Defence Minister Guillermo Botero, “I have instructed the Force commanders that aerial exercises such as today be suspended until the causes of the incident in Medellín are fully known,” and added, “My solidarity with their families, friends, and institution.”

Here’s the video, but please beware that it is painful to watch.

After analyzing the video, it almost appears as if something flew right across the cable, which caused it to break away from the helicopter completely. Other’s on social media agree. “Pretty sure I saw something fly into the cable there??” someone commented. 

It almost looks like a bird, but it’s hard to tell because of the quality of the video and because it moves so fast. 

Jorge Hugo Duarte, an Olaya Herrera airport manager, offered up his theory in the Spanish news outlet Ensegundos, that “One of the Air Force helicopters coming to the airport to land with two military men hanging holding the Colombian flag, this rope apparently burst from the aircraft and the two military men fell into the airport. Both military men died.” 

But the video shows it didn’t just burst, something flew directly into it causing it to break. 

Further inspection of the video shows that another helicopter was also carrying two other men with another flag.

 Credit: YouTube

It is unclear if the other stuntmen were injured or involved in the cause of the accident, but according to the video it seemed like they were far behind them. 

The helicopters were performing as part of the Medellín Flower Fair.

Credit: kakabanetadecoco / Instagram

According to The Sun, the festival “began in 1963 and includes pageants, parades of cars and horses, and musical concerts.” 

The air show had only last ten-minutes before the cable broke. In the previous years, the Festival of Flowers has included the use of helicopters as part of the show. One year rose petals were dropped from helicopters as a tribute to the men and women who maintain the annual tradition. 

READ: A Tragic Accident Left Two Teenage Daughters Without Parents While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

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