Another video has emerged showing the moments leading up to the death of 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand, who fell from a Royal Caribbean ship in America.
The footage shows Chloe’s grandfather, Salvatore Anello, facing up to three years in a Puerto Rican prison for negligent homicide, moments before she fell.
While it is not high quality, it appears to show a figure leaning from the window of Freedom of the Seas. Royal Caribbean maintains in court documents Mr Anello knew the window was closed and was “reckless and irresponsible”.
Mr Anello was travelling with his family on a cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas in San Juan, Puerto Rico on July 7 when the incident occurred.
He claims he sat his granddaughter on the railing of what he thought was an open window while the family were in the outdoor dining area.
Every other window was shut. But the one he sat Chloe in front of was open.
Chloe’s family blame the cruise line and say the window should never have been open. They maintained Mr Anello was playing a game when she slipped from his arms and fell out of the window, tumbling 45 metres onto a concrete pier.
The family also claims that the cruise line is denying them access to footage from 11 out of the 13 cameras, that could clear Mr Anello.
Last week, investigators for the Wiegand family boarded Freedom of the Seas to gather new evidence from the spot where Chloe plunged to her death.
Michael Winkleman, the attorney for the family told DailyMail.com that his team were ‘stunned’ to find 13 different cameras overlooking the area despite Royal Caribbean handing over clips from just two cameras.
The fact-finding mission came after Royal Caribbean notified the Wiegand family that they were about to refurbish the splash pool area where Chloe fell.
The couple sought an emergency order to stop the company destroying ‘critical evidence’ but withdrew it after Royal agreed to an unsupervised site inspection when the ship was docked last week in Barbados.
Mr Winkleman said the findings will be used to counter the January 15 Motion to Dismiss.
“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 which ultimately led to Chloe’s tragic death,” he told DailyMail.com in an exclusive statement.
“Royal Caribbean has premised its defence in this case and its blame on Chloe’s grandfather by supplying two deceptive views from its CCTV cameras to the court and the Puerto Rico authorities.
“However, the Plaintiffs were first permitted a vessel inspection of the scene of the incident on January 10 – less than a week after Royal Caribbean first informed the Wiegands that they are making modifications to the ship that will destroy the subject area where the incident occurred.
”That inspection has revealed that Royal Caribbean’s Motion to Dismiss neglects to tell the Court and, presumably, the authorities that there were no less than thirteen CCTV video cameras in the area of the incident.”
Mr Winkleman said Chloe’s parents, police officer Alan and his attorney wife Kimberly will now ask the Southern District of Florida US District Court to compel Royal Caribbean to produce videos from all 13 cameras.
Last week, Royal Caribbean filed new court documents which allege that Mr Anello was ‘unquestionably’ aware that he was dangling the toddler out of an open window before she plunged to her death from the 11th storey.
“After months of bearing false and inaccurate accusations, from the Wiegands’ attorneys through the press, RCL now faces the legally mandated task of responding to a lawsuit the Wiegands’ attorneys did not file in good faith,” the court documents say.
“This is not a case of an unknowing child approaching an open window and falling out because the window was defective or improperly positioned.
“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.”
A spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean told the DailyMail.com: “The death of Chloe Wiegand is undeniably a heartbreaking tragedy that has prompted a criminal prosecution of Chloe’s step-grandfather and a civil lawsuit brought by the Wiegand family attorneys.
“Our position in the matter is outlined in our Motion to Dismiss, which we were legally mandated to do in response to the civil complaint. The motion was filed in Federal Court in South Florida and is available to the public.”
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