Granddad Charged with Granddaughter’s Cruise Ship Death Says He Was Trying to Stand Her on the Railing

Over the summer the world was horrified to learn that an 18-month-old girl had died after falling out of a cruise ship window. We have blogged about this case many times, and what seems clear is that Royal Caribbean had left a window open high up on the ship, presenting a serious hazard to passengers. When the toddler, Chloe Wiegand, and her grandfather attempted to bang on the glass like they were accustomed to doing at hockey games, Chloe fell out the window. Her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, insists that he believed that the window was closed when he lifted Chloe up to it. 

In an exclusive interview with CBS Anello told his side of the story. He said that it was clear Chloe would not be able to reach the glass, and that it was then that  “I decided I’d pick her up. So, I was trying to stand her on the railing, and it happened in seconds.”

Anello is being charged with negligent homicide in Puerto Rico, the location where the tragedy occurred. The Wiegand’s attorney contends that the incident was an accident and that Anello should not be on trial, especially as the family has already suffered enough. 

Initial reports indicated that Anello may have been hanging Chloe out of the window when she slipped and fell from his grasp. In the CBS interview Anello flatly denies this contention, saying “Not knowing that there wasn’t a glass there, if somehow I thought that she was going beyond the glass, I wouldn’t have done it.”

Ultimately, the family blames Royal Caribbean for allowing such a hazardous situation. They wonder why a window was left open aboard a cruise ship with no warning of the danger. “If there were some kind of warning sign, we wouldn’t even have been near it. We wouldn’t even have been near it,” Anello said.