Royal Caribbean Cruises is claiming that they have video proof that the grandfather of the toddler who died last year after the grandfather accidentally dropped her out of an open window, was “unquestionably aware” that the window was open before the incident occurred.
Chloe Wiegand fell to her death while abroad Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas ship in July when her grandfather lifted her up onto the window’s ledge and she fell 11-stories to the deck below.
During the investigation, the grandfather Salvatore Anello, told authorities and his family that he lifted the child up so she could bang on the windows like she does at her older brother’s hockey games, but he was unaware that the window was open. Additionally, Anello told authorities that he is colorblind so he could not tell the difference between which windows were open and which were closed.
The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company stating that the company violated industry standards by failing to provide reasonably safe windows in an area where children play on the ship.
In a counter to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family, Royal Caribbean cruises reported that surveillance video shows that the grandfather was fully aware that the window was open because he leaned his upper body out of it seconds before picking the child up and dangling her out of the window for half of a minute:
“This is not a case of an unknowing child approaching an open window and falling out because the window was defective or improperly positioned,” the court documents read. “Rather, this is a case about an adult man, Chloe’s step-grandfather who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms: (1) walked up to a window he was aware was open; (2) leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds; (3) reached down and picked up Chloe; and (4) 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. 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,” according to court records obtained by WPTV.
Royal Caribbean cruise also added that all the windows have a green film on them to help distinguish which ones are open and which are closed, as well as handles on the ones that do open.
The cruise company has since submitted the videos to officials and is seeking the dismissal of the family’s lawsuit.