Grandfather Sam Anello knew a window on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas was open before dropping his 2-year-old granddaughter through the window to her death in July, the cruise line said in a federal court filing.
Also shown in surveillance video from the ship, Royal Caribbean says: Anello holding Chloe Wiegand in front of the open window for 34 seconds before she fell.
Photo stills from the video were included in Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Jan. 8 motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the cruise line by Chloe’s parents, Alan Wiegand and Kimberly Schultz-Wiegand of South Bend, Indiana. Anello’s been charged with negligent homicide in Puerto Rico, where the Freedom of the Seas was docked when Chloe fell 11 stories to the dock.
While the motion’s still awaiting a response from the Wiegands’ side and a subsequent ruling, this is an evidentiary cannon shot at Anello’s claim that he lost his grip on Chloe when she threw herself at a window he thought was closed and should’ve been closed.
In the first photo (Photo 1), the filing states, Anello is in the red circle on the left and Chloe is in the red circle on the right, heading for the open window.
Photo 2’s description says, “When he arrives at the open window, and while Chloe is on the floor, Mr. Anello leans his upper-torso over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds.
“Because Mr. Anello had himself leaned out the window, he was well aware that the window was open. In addition, the windows in question consist of greenish-tinted glass making it open and obvious where a window is open versus closed.”
In describing Photos 3 and 4, the filing states, “Next, Mr. Anello leans down and picks Chloe up, lifting her over the wooden rail towards the open window located several feet off the deck.
“Mr. Anello stays in front of the open window and exposes Chloe to the open window, which was 11 decks high off the ground, with nothing but a concrete pier below, for approximately 34 seconds at which time she unfortunately fell.”