Chloe Wiegand’s parents announce lawsuit against Royal Caribbean in toddler’s fatal fall


Via: Florida Today

The family of a little girl who died in a fall from the 11th floor of a cruise ship will sue Royal Caribbean and call for safer windows on luxury ocean liners.

Chloe Wiegand’s parents Kim and Alan Wiegand and her grandfather, Salvatore “Sam” Anello, and the family’s attorney will address the media 10 a.m. Wednesday at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in South Bend, Indiana, reports the IndyStar, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

In a recent interview with CBS news, Salvatore “Sam” Anello, 51, has insisted he did not know a window was open when 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand fell to her death at a port in Puerto Rico on July 8.

“I didn’t realize there wasn’t any glass until… absolutely that it was too late,” Salvatore Anello told CBS in a story that aired Nov. 26.

“When she first fell, I thought she fell in front of me. I thought she fell in front of me.”

In October prosecutors in Puerto Rico charged Anello with negligent homicide.

Police in Puerto Rico initially said Anello told officers he lost his grip while holding the girl outside the window on the 11th deck, the Associated Press reported.

In an Oct. 28 news release, Puerto Rico Attorney General Dennise N. Longo Quiñones and other officials said Anello “negligently exposed the child to the abyss through a window on the 11th floor of the cruise ship.”

If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison. Anello is scheduled to appear in court in Puerto Rico on Dec. 17.

Surveillance video of the incident appears to support the grandfather’s assertion that he believed the window was closed, Anello’s criminal defense attorney, José G. Pérez Ortiz, told IndyStar.

“My client thought that the window was closed,” Ortiz said. “Nothing in the video is inconsistent.”

In an emailed statement, Prosecutor Quiñones said the Department of Justice is confident “that all of the evidence will prove Salvatore Anello’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Chloe’s parents live in Granger, Indiana. Her father, Alan Wiegand, is an officer with the South Bend Police Department.

The Wiegands have supported Anello since their daughter’s death and blame the cruise line for failing to protect its passengers.

Another Hoosier died on a cruise ship recently. Brian Rice, a Brownsburg father of two, died Nov. 15 after he fell four stories from a balcony to a lower deck as the Carnival Horizon cruise ship was returning to Miami, authorities said.