Grandfather of Toddler Who Died on Cruise Ship Blamed by Royal Caribbean as 'Reckless and Irresponsible'

Royal Caribbean Cruise Line isn't currently taking responsibility for a recent tragedy that occurred on one of its ships. Back in July, 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand suffered a fatal fall from the 11th floor of a ship while docked in Puerto Rico. The Wiegand family has since opened a lawsuit against Royal Caribbean, and according to IndyStar, the cruise line is attempting to have it dismissed.

In a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, they argue that the incident is the fault of the girl's grandfather, Salvatore "Sam" Anello. "His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents," the motion said.

"This is a case about an adult man, who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: one, walked up to a window he was aware was open; two, leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; three, reached down and picked up Chloe; and four, then held her by and out of the open window for thirty-four seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window"

Wiegand family attorney, Michael Winkleman, issued a statement in response, calling their accusations "baseless and deceptive."

"It is clear that Royal Caribbean’s tactic is to blame Chloe’s grandfather rather than to accept that Royal Caribbean did not implement industry standards for toddler safety aboard its ships."

Anello alleges that he wasn't aware the window could open, but that he was lifting up his granddaughter so she could bang on the glass, which she did at her brother's hockey games.

In a separate matter, prosecutors in Puerto Rico have charged Anello with negligent homicide in his granddaughters' death, which carries a maximum penalty of three years in prison. In a statement released in October, the Puerto Rican Department of Justice allege that Anello "negligently exposed the child to the abyss through a window on the 11th floor of the cruise ship."


Back in July, Chloe's parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand addressed the tragedy in an interview on The TODAY Show.

"We obviously blame [Royal Caribbean] for not having a safer situation on the 11th floor of that cruise ship," the couple said. "There are a million things that could've been done to make that safer. I know my mom was asking people, 'Why on earth is there a window open on the 11th floor without a screen or anything?'"