A grandfather who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide after his young granddaughter fell to her death from an 11th-storey cruise ship window has been sentenced.
Salvatore “Sam” Anello, from the US state of Indiana, pleaded guilty in the case in October 2020 after the 18-month-old fell from the window of the docked ship in Puerto Rico.
Chloe Wiegand slipped from his grasp and fell about 45 metres from an open window of Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Freedom of the Seas ship in July 2019.
After initially entering a not guilty plea, he later dropped it to help end what he called “this nightmare” for his family.
Defence attorney Michael Winkleman said Anello would serve probation in his home state in the US.
Anello said he did not know the window in the children’s play area was open and that he lifted Chloe up to it so she could knock on the glass as she had done at her brother’s hockey games.
“I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t dangling her out of a window,” he said in a previous statement. He added that he is colourblind and might not have realised the tinted window was open.
The girl’s parents sued Royal Caribbean in a civil case that is still ongoing.
In response, Royal Caribbean said surveillance video showed Anello leaning out the window for about eight seconds before lifting the girl up and out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip.
The family said it would have been physically impossible for Anello to lean out like that.
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