A grandfather who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after his young granddaughter fell from deck 11 of cruise ship Freedom of the Seas (IMO 9304033) while she was docked in Puerto Rico early last year has been sentenced to three years’ probation, according to justice officials. (IMN January 22nd 2020)
Salvatore Anello of Valparaiso, Indiana had pleaded guilty in the case in October 2020. Anello will serve the probation in his home state, according to his lawyer.
Anello was aboard the Freedom Of The Seas with his family in July 2019 when the death occurred. He has said he did not know that the window in the children’s play area was open and that he lifted 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand up to it so she could knock on the glass, as he said she was used to doing at her brother’s ice hockey games.
A video was subsequently released which showed Anello pop his head out of a window of the cruise ship and then dangle her over its ledge — contradicting his claim that he did not know the window was open before she fell to her death, reported the New York Post last year.
The video shows grandfather Salvatore Anello put his head out the window for eight seconds before picking up Chloe from the ground, according to court papers filed by Royal Caribbean, which is seeking dismissal of the Wiegand family’s lawsuit over the child’s death last July.
The girl’s parents sued Royal Caribbean in a civil case that is still ongoing.
Royal Caribbean said the video showed Anello lifting his granddaughter over the wooden rail to the open window for approximately 34 seconds, at which time she unfortunately fell. When he arrived at the open window, and while Chloe is on the floor, Mr. Anello leaned his upper-torso over the wooden railing and out of the window frame for approximately eight seconds. Royal Caribbean said that the only reasonable conclusion from the video was that Mr. Anello knew the window was open before picking up Chloe.
Anello has repeatedly denied knowing the window was open — insisting that he picked up Chloe so she could bang on the glass.
The child’s family is arguing that the company failed to protect the 18-month-old granddaughter and other holidaymakers from potentially dangerous open windows while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
2006-built, Bahamas-flagged, 155,889 gt Freedom Of The Seas is owned by Freedom Of The Seas Inc care of manager Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd of Miami, Florida, USA. It is entered with Gard P&I Club on behalf of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.