TAMPA (WFLA/NBC) – Royal Caribbean claims video proves the grandfather of an 18-month-old girl who fell to her death from a cruise ship last year “unquestionably” knew the window was open before he held the little girl up to it and lost his grip.
18-month-old Chloe Wiegand fell to her death from deck 11 of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, Freedom of the Seas, while it was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in July 2019.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the girl’s family, claims that warning signs about open windows could have prevented the child’s death. They said Chloe’s grandfather lifted her up to the window pane, believing it was closed.
However, the cruise line counters this claim in a motion filed this month asking for the suit to be dismissed.
The motion includes a series of images from a security video they say show the grandfather leaning out of the window before the incident, proving he knew it was open.
According to Royal Caribbean, the still shots taken from the videos show:
Anello, wearing a dark short sleeve shirt (see red circle) following Chloe, wearing a white hat (see second red circle), towards the open window on Deck 11.
When he arrives at the open window, and while Chloe is on the floor, Anello leans his upper-torso over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds.
Next, Anello leans down and picks Chloe up, lifting her over the wooden rail towards the open window.
Anello stays in front of the open window, which was 11 decks high off the ground, while holding Chloe for approximately 34 seconds before she fell.
The girl’s grandfather, Salvatore Anello, has been charged in Puerto Rico with negligent homicide.
In response to the family’s lawsuit, Royal Caribbean submitted videos from two cameras that they say captured Anello’s actions.
Royal Caribbean said in its court filing that while the “death of Chloe Wiegand is a sad tragedy,” the grandfather is entirely to blame.