A Puerto Rican television show released a video showing the final moments of a toddler’s life before she plummeted 11 floors to her death, while aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship this summer.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Chloe Wiegand, an 18-month-old toddler from Granger, Indiana, was on a cruise with family when she lost her life aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. The ship was docked in Puerto Rico at the time of the incident, on July 7.
Chloe died after falling from the 11th floor and landing on the hard, concrete surface of the Pan American dock. She was playing with her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, in the children’s H2O Zone children’s water park when she fell from an open window.
Anello, who often accompanied Chloe to her brothers’ hockey games, where she enthusiastically banged on the hockey rink glass panel, apparently lifted the girl up at her request while they were in the play area.
The following footage was obtained by WAPA-TV’s news show, “La Comay.”
*Warning* Content may be disturbing to viewers
IMPACTANTE | ¡Video exclusivo dentro del crucero cuando el abuelo, Salvatore Anello, asoma a la niña por la ventana del piso 11! #QueBochinche #LaComay
Posted by La Comay – MEGA TV on Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Last month, San Juan Investigations Chamber Judge Jimmy Sepúlveda ruled that prosecutors provided probable cause for the arrest of Anello. He’s currently facing a negligent homicide charge.
Anello spoke with CBS Evening News and maintained his innocence as he relived the tragic incident. Anello said he was in disbelief as he watched Chloe slip from hands and plummet over 100 feet. He was holding Chloe close to a ledge, as he’s done previously as hockey games.
“I remember trying to find her on the floor and then I saw her fall, I saw her fall, I saw her fall and I was just in disbelief. And I was like ‘Oh my God.’ And I think for a while I was in shock and I was just standing there. And then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass. I thought there was glass.”
Although authorities think Anello’s actions align with negligent homicide, his family thinks otherwise. Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kim Wiegand, recently filed a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean, claiming the cruise line should have given adequate warnings about the open window.
“This is not some freak accident,” family lawyer Michael Winkleman told NBC News. “This is something that was a preventable accident…These windows are entirely not compliant with the standard for windows on cruise ships.”
“There was not a single, adequate indication that this wall of glass panes was not actually a wall of fixed glass panes, but instead a wall of glass with glass panes that could actually slide and remain open, as windows. For instance, none of the glass panes, which were mere feet from the kids’ H2O Zone, contained a warning, design decal on the glass, or anything to warn passengers, such as Mr. Anello, of the hidden danger that some of the glass pane windows in the middle row may be slid open.”
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[Feature Photo: Chloe Wiegand/Family Handout]