Royal Caribbean blames 'reckless' grandfather in toddler Chloe Wiegand's death




 

Royal Caribbean blames a "reckless and irresponsible" grandfather for the fall from a cruise ship window that killed 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, reports the IndyStar, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

"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 cruise line said in a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by Chloe's family, who live in South Bend.

Chloe died July 8 when she fell from the 11th floor of a ship while docked in Puerto Rico.

Salvatore "Sam" Anello has insisted he did not know a window was open when Chloe fell. He has said he lifted her so she could bang on the glass like she did at her brother's hockey games.

Chloe's family sued Royal Caribbean last month in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida. They claim the cruise line failed to protect passengers from deceptively dangerous windows.

Royal Caribbean, in court documents filed Jan. 8, lays all blame squarely on Anello.

Surveillance video, the cruise line said, shows Anello leaning out of the open window for about eight seconds just moments before he lifted the little girl.

"This is a case about an adult man," Royal Caribbean said in its motion, "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 thirty four seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window."

Michael Winkleman, the Wiegand family's attorney, let an IndyStar reporter and editor review Royal Caribbean surveillance footage that showed the toddler's fall.

The video shows the toddler following her grandfather toward the big windows. Anello is seen leaning over an interior railing in front of the windows.

The video shows Anello lifting Chloe onto the railing. In an instant, she's gone

In a separate criminal case, prosecutors in Puerto Rico have charged Anello with negligent homicide in Chloe's death. If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Anello "negligently exposed the child to the abyss through a window on the 11th floor of the cruise ship," the Puerto Rican Department of Justice said in an Oct. 28 news release.

IndyStar is reaching out to Winkleman and Anello's attorney in the criminal case seeking comment.

Contact IndyStar reporter Vic Ryckaert at 317-444-2701 or vic.ryckaert@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @VicRyc.

In case you missed: Chloe Wiegand's parents announce lawsuit against Royal Caribbean in toddler's fatal fall

And earlier: Parents blame Royal Caribbean for toddler's death after 11-story fall

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Royal Caribbean: 'Reckless' grandfather dropped Chloe Wiegand

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