Family condemns “deplorable” video leak of toddler falling from cruise ship
The family of a toddler who fell off her grandfather’s arms to her death on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship has criticised the Puerto Rican authorities after a surveillance footage of the incident was leaked.
The video, which was broadcast by Puerto Rico TV program La Comay on Tuesday local time, shows 18-months-old Chloe Wiegand being lifted by her grandfather Salvatore “Sam” Anello to an open window of the Freedom of the Seas ship in July. The young girl fell 45 metres to a concrete dock below to the pier, resulting in her death.
According to a lawsuit the US family filed earlier this month, Anello said he was not aware that the window glass panes could be opened.
In a statement, the Wiegand family demanded an investigation into the release of the video.
“The family is shocked by the deplorable and disgraceful misconduct that led to the release of this footage,” they said.
“The family’s sole motivation for not releasing the video was to protect their older child. That motivation has not changed.
“The family publicly asks the Puerto Rican authorities, why was this footage released? Why do you continue to inflict such heinous emotional distress on our family? Haven’t we been punished enough by the loss of Chloe?”
The Attorney General of Puerto Rico Dennise Longo Quiñones said in a statement that they did not know how the video was released to the news agency.
“We are unaware of how Kobbo Santarrosa obtained the video of the unfortunate incident where Chloe Wiegand lost her life,” Quiñones told CBS News.
“A careful review of said video confirms, however that Salvatore Anello is guilty of negligent homicide as charged. The evidence collected in this case corroborates his criminal responsibility. We hope and expect Chloe’s family fully cooperates with our proceedings and that justice prevails in this case with conviction.”
Puerto Rican defence attorney Jose Perez said Anello is considering a plea deal but remains intent on clearing his name at trial.
“It’s firm that he is innocent and he does not want to plea,” Perez said.
Wiegand’s parents blame Royal Caribbean for the death. “We want them to fix their cruise ships so that no other kids get hurt,” Kimberly Wiegand said.
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