'Physically Impossible' For Grandfather To Drop Toddler From Window Of Cruise Ship
The parents of an Indiana girl who fell to her death on a cruise ship docked in Puerto Rico last year said the narrative suggested by the cruise liner was “physically impossible”.
The parents of Chloe Wiegand also accused Royal Caribbean Cruises of releasing deceptive surveillance images as well as lying in its recent motion seeking to dismiss the family’s lawsuit.
The family's suit accused the cruise line of negligence in Chloe’s death by allowing the window in the ship’s children’s play area to be open.
Royal Caribbean earlier this month alleged surveillance video shows the child’s 51-year-old grandfather, Salvatore Anello, leaning out of the 11th-floor window -- just before the toddler slipped from his hands.
The company said Anello’s alleged actions were “reckless and irresponsible,” suggesting they led to his granddaughter's death on July 8, 2019.
Anello was charged last year in Puerto Rico with being responsible for Chloe's death.
The Wiegand family were adamant Royal Caribbean lied in its version of events--saying their attorney’s examination of the area showed it was impossible for Anello to have leaned over a wooden railing and through the angled window.
“Royal Caribbean has demonstrably lied to this court and, in so doing, Royal Caribbean has created a false narrative,” the family’s filing states.
The attorney “could not lean ‘out of the window frame’ due to the distance between the railing and the window frame. In fact, it would have been physically impossible for Mr. Anello,” it states.
The family's accusations that Royal Caribbean was creating “a false narrative” stem from the cruise line only including surveillance video stills from two of 13 cameras in the area where Chloe fell about 150 feet [50 metres] to her death.
The family sought legal action to force the cruise line to release video from all 13 cameras.
Royal Caribbean Cruises’ spokeswoman, Melissa Charbonneau, said in a statement on Thursday that “we are confident in the case we presented to the court.”
Anello is colourblind and has said this may have been why he didn't realise the window was open.
He said he lifted Chloe to the window to allow her to bang on the glass, like she did at her brother’s hockey games.
Anello’s attorney was confident the surveillance video is consistent with the grandfather’s assertion that he believed the window was closed.