Salvatore Anello video proves grandfather behaved recklessly: Royal Caribbean files motion against Indiana family suit claiming cruise liner is to blame for toddler girl, Chloe Wiegand’s plunging death out 11th story window.
ww Royal Caribbean has cited the existence of video footage ‘proving’ the ‘reckless and irresponsible’ behavior of a grandfather in the death of an 18-month-old toddler who fell 11 stories while on their ship last summer.
Salvatore Anello was playing with his granddaughter, Chloe Rae Margaret Wiegand, in the ‘Kids Water Zone’ of the Freedom of the Seas ship when he lifted her up and out of the 11th-story window the cruise liner claims he knew to be open the cruise liner asserts.
The claims come in a motion to dismiss a civil lawsuit filed by Chloe’s family in Florida.
‘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 statement according to the Indianapolis Star.
The tragedy which occurred on July 7th involved eighteen-month-old Chloe falling 45 meters onto a concrete pier, while the ship was docked and dying instantly. The incident occurred as the grandfather was ‘playing’ a game with the toddler girl when she slipped from the Indiana man’s arms and fell out the window.
The incident led to Wiengand family suing the cruise line arguing the company failed to protect Chloe and other vacationers from potentially dangerous open windows.
Anello has denied knowing the window was open — insisting he had picked up Chloe so she could bang on the glass as she would at her older brother’s hockey games.
A baseless and deceptive motion?
But Royal Caribbean is claiming it has footage from two security cameras showing Anello holding Chloe outside of the window for about 34 seconds, Fox59 reports.
‘This is not a case of an unknowing child approaching an open window and falling out because the window was defective or improperly positioned,’ court documents stated. ‘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 of the window.’
According to Royal Caribbean, the ‘only reasonable conclusion from the video’ is that Anello knew the window was open before picking his step-granddaughter up and holding her out the open window for a ‘considerable period,’ thereby ‘recklessly endangering her life.’
Responded commentators on social media: ‘I wonder how drunk he was? He killed his grandchild. You don’t dangle babies out of windows. He stuck his head out before he picked her up and now wants millions? That is no child’s play area. There are two bars there. Drunk idiot. It actually looks like he threw her out the window.’
‘Guy kills his granddaughter by his own negligence and lies about it so to try and sue a business for.’
The Weingand family’s attorney Michael Winkleman, issued a statement to CBS News calling Royal Caribbean’s motion ‘baseless and deceptive.’
Winkelman called for the cruise line to release additional views from what he said were 13 cameras in the area.
‘It is clear that Royal Caribbean’s tactic is to blame Chloe’s grandfather rather than to accept that Royal Caribbean did not implement industry standards for toddler safety aboard its ships which ultimately led to Chloe’s tragic death,’ the family’s lawyer said in a statement.
‘Royal Caribbean has premised its defense in this case and its blame on Chloe’s grandfather by supplying two deceptive views from its CCTV cameras to the court and the Puerto Rico authorities.’
The family lawyer’s statements follow Anello, previously claiming he’s colorblind.
Anello is also facing criminal charges in Puerto Rico, where prosecutors have charged him with negligent homicide in his granddaughter’s death.
A federal judge is yet to rule on Royal Caribbean’s motion to dismiss the case but a status meeting is scheduled for March.
‘RCL owed no duty to warn Plaintiffs of the open and obvious danger associated with putting a child through an open window. Such reckless actions require no warning,’ the documents say.
‘Individuals merely need to use their basic senses to appreciate the obvious nature of the danger.’
Falling off a cruise ship is very rare. It’s estimated that over 28 million people went on a cruise last year. According to a website that tracks people falling off them, since 2000, only around 340 people have gone overboard.