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Grandfather Who Accidentally Dropped Toddler From Cruise Ship Could Face Charges

An investigation is underway into the death of an Indiana toddler who fell from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Puerto Rico in what appears to have been a tragic accident.

The one-year-old girl's grandfather apparently lost his grip while holding her near a window on the ship.

Puerto Rican safety officials told a local newspaper that detectives are gathering evidence and trying to determine whether to file negligence charges against the grandfather who has been identified as Salvatore Anello, an IT worker in South Bend, Indiana. Anello's boss told CBS affiliate WSBT he is a model employee.

The Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas sails year-round out of Port Canaveral, Fla., on seven-night Caribbean cruises. Photo: AAP

"People just love him here in the county," Mike Hamann said.

"He's a very selfless man, he's got a servant's heart, as we say. And just one of the most wonderful human beings that you could ever meet."

The toddler was aboard the ship with her two siblings, parents and four grandparents. The South Bend police department says one of its officers, Alan Wiegand, is the child's father. In a statement, the department said it offers its "sincerest condolences" to the officer, and asked the community to pray for the family.

Pan American docks I and II. Photo: sanjuanpuertorico.com

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.

A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean told CBS News it's deeply saddened by the "tragic accident" and its "heart goes out to the family."