According to court documents, a Grandpa who dropped his toddler granddaughter from a cruise ship ‘unquestionably’ knew the window was open.
Salvatore Anello let his two year old granddaughter Chloe Weigand slip out of his grasp when he was holding her on the Freedom of the Seas cruise, which docked in Puerto Rico. Chloe plummeted 150ft to her death and was sadly killed instantly after falling on concrete in July 2019.
Anello was charged with criminal neglect by Puerto Rican authorities but claims he didn’t know the window was open. According to the court documents filed by Royal Caribbean, there was “no hidden danger” and Anello “knew the window was open” The operator also said Aiello would only have to use his “basic senses” to appreciate the danger posed to the youngster.
The distressing footage shows Aiello pick up Chloe and hold her to the window so she could bang on it moments before she fell. At the time of the accident, Chloe’s parents Alan and Kimberly Wiegand had been travelling on a family holiday, it was reported that they were so hysterical after the tragic fall they had to be sedated by medics.
The parents have now launched a multi-million dollar negligence suit blaming Royal Caribbean for failing to install safety devices or warning signs on the waist-height glass window. They could claim “unlimited” damages for pain and mental suffering if they win.
Alan and Kimberly, from South Bend Indiana, claim there wasn’t a sign or safety notice warning Anello the window could be slid open and say it is hard for the grandpa to distinguish between a window and a miss pane because he is colour blind. However Royal Caribbean denies breaching industry safety standards and hit out at the “false and inaccurate accusations” made by the family.
Royal Caribbean have also filed a motion to dismiss the case as it could no longer “limit its expressions to those of sympathy and support”.
The papers say: “This is not a case of an unknowing child approaching an open window and falling out because the window was defective or improperly positioned. Rather this is a case about an adult man, Chloe’s step grandfather 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 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 parent’s”
A federal judge is yet to rule on Royal Caribbean’s motion to dismiss but a status conference is scheduled for March.