Damning evidence sheds awful new light on cruise line toddler death

Damning evidence sheds awful new light on cruise line toddler death

A man who dropped his young granddaughter on a cruise ship “unquestionably” knew the window was open, the cruise operator alleges in a court filing.

Royal Caribbean Cruises filed a motion this month asking the federal court in the Southern District of Florida asking to dismiss a lawsuit by the family of Chloe Wiegand, who fell to her death from an 11th floor window on the Freedom of the Seas ship in Puerto Rico in July 2019.

The toddler’s parents have accused the cruise liner of negligence in her death by allowing the window in the children’s play area to be open.

In the new filing, Royal Caribbean alleged the blame falls on Wiegand’s 51-year-old grandfather Salvatore Anello, who was charged in Puerto Rico with negligent homicide.

The company said surveillance video shows Anello leaning out the open window before lifting Wiegand up to it.

Source: United States District Court of Southern Florida

“Because Mr Anello had himself leaned out the window, he was well aware that the window is open,” the court motion said.

“This is a case about an adult man, who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: (1) walked up to a window he was aware was open; (2) leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; (3) reached down and picked up Chloe; and (4) then held her by and out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window.

“His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents.”

The family’s attorney Michael Winkleman said the cruise company’s motion is “baseless and deceptive”, The Indianapolis Star reported.

Anello told CBS This Morning in November that he is colourblind and did not realise the tinted window was open. “I thought there was glass,” he said then. “I still say it to myself, it's just, I kind of relive it all the time and I just thought there was glass there.”