PUERTO RICO (FOX 59) – A northern Indiana man knew a window was open just moments before he picked up his step-granddaughter and lost his grip, according to the Royal Caribbean cruise line.
Chloe Wiegand, 18-months-old, fell to her death in July and her family is suing the cruise line for negligence.
According to court documents, Royal Caribbean said video proof shows Salvatore Anello knew the window was open, even saying he leaned his upper body out that window before picking up Chloe.
The cruise line said that “surveillance footage unquestionably confirms” that he “walked up to a window he was aware was open” before holding her up to the window and dropping her.
Royal Caribbean also included images from their surveillance video in the lawsuit. They said there are two closed-circuit television cameras that captured the events leading to the fall.
According to Royal Caribbean, the still shots taken from the videos show Anello, in the red circle, leaning his upper-torso over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds.
Anello then leaned down and picked Chloe up, lifting her over the wooden rail towards the open window.
Anello stayed in front of the open window, which was 11 decks high off the ground, while holding Chloe for approximately 34 seconds before she fell.
Royal Caribbean said the “only reasonable conclusion from the video” is that Anello knew the window was open before lifting Chloe over the wooden rail and holding her out the open window for a “considerable period,” thus “recklessly endangering her life.”
Anello said he’s colorblind and didn’t realize the 11th story window was open, but Royal Caribbean says video evidence proves it doesn’t matter because he knew the window was open.
Anello is charged with negligent homicide in Puerto Rico.
The Wiegands’ attorney Michael Winkleman issued a statement calling the Royal Caribbean’s motion to dismiss “baseless and deceptive,” blaming cruise line for unsafe safety standards.