Royal Caribbean: 'Reckless' Grandpa Leaned Out Window First

Cruise line blames Sam Anello in Chloe Wiegand's death
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2020 5:15 PM CST
Royal Caribbean: 'Reckless' Grandpa Leaned Out Window First
This May 11, 2006 file photo shows the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship docked in Bayonne, NJ.   (AP Photo/Mike Derer, File)

A horrible twist to the already unimaginable story of the 18-month-old who fell to her death from the 11th story of a Royal Caribbean ship: The cruise line says the tot's grandfather first leaned out the open window before leaning down to pick her up. Salvatore "Sam" Anello, who is charged in Puerto Rico with negligent homicide in granddaughter Chloe Wiegand's July death, has maintained he did not know the window was open when he lifted Chloe to the railing, thinking she could bang on the glass as she liked to do while watching her brother's hockey games. Chloe's family sued Royal Caribbean over her death, saying it should have been made more clear that there was an opening in what appeared to be a wall of windows, but in a motion filed to dismiss that lawsuit, the cruise line blames Anello, and says the whole thing was captured on video.

"This is a case about an adult man 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 34 seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window," the motion says, per the Indianapolis Star. "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." A Star reporter and editor viewed the video in question, and the paper says it shows Anello "leaning over an interior railing in front of the windows." The Wiegand family's attorney, however, tells Fox News Royal Caribbean's claim is based on "deceptive views" from certain CCTV cameras; the family wants the cruise line to produce all available footage. WTHR has released what it says is the surveillance video in question; see it here. (More Chloe Wiegand stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.