Toddler Chloe Wiegand fell to her death from a window on Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
Toddler Chloe Wiegand fell to her death from a window on Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

Cruise liner ‘lying’ about toddler’s tragic fall

A cruise company has been accused of lying about how a toddler came to fall out the window of a ship after being carried by her grandfather.

Lawyer Michael Winkleman is representing the family of Indiana girl Chloe Wiegand, who fell from an open window of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July.

The family claims the company is lying about how the incident transpired and claims a recent inspection of the ship proves it.

Mr Winkleman spoke to Fox News, explaining that Chloe's grandfather, Salvatore Anello, who was holding the 18-month-old when she fell from his arms while the cruise ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, had no idea the window was open at the time of the tragedy.

The cruise ship has previously claimed Mr Anello was "well aware" of the open 11th-floor window when he lifted Chloe up before the fatal fall.

 

Chloe Wiegand with her grandfather Salvatore Anello. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
Chloe Wiegand with her grandfather Salvatore Anello. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

 

Police attend the scene of Chloe’s tragic fall through the window (highlighted in red). Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
Police attend the scene of Chloe’s tragic fall through the window (highlighted in red). Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

 

Now Mr Winkleman is speaking out against the claims after conducting an inspection of the ship with a maritime safety expert, which he says proves the cruise ship has been giving a "false narrative".

"Really, we think since day one, they've always tried to make it seem as though and what they said in court papers was that Sam can be seen to walk up and lean over the railing out the window. And that's incorrect. That's just factually incorrect," he said.

 

 

Chloe was just 18 months old at the time of her death. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
Chloe was just 18 months old at the time of her death. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

 

"If you look, if you take time to look at the photos and the reconstruction of what we did, you will see that's not possible.

"So the reason why we say it's physically impossible for him to do that is we actually just (tried) to get my law partner, for him to even touch his head on the window," he continued.

"He would have to get it up on his tippy toes on a railing where his feet were (...) more than seven inches off the ground. And that would be just to touch his head where the glass is.

 

The little girl’s parents have defended her grandfather. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
The little girl’s parents have defended her grandfather. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

 

 

 

The cruise ship has blamed Mr Anello’s negligence for the tragedy.
The cruise ship has blamed Mr Anello’s negligence for the tragedy.

"So to be able to go out of that window, you'd have to lean so far that you would be at risk of falling. Therefore, it's essentially physically impossible. But more importantly, I think, is just that it shows that the position that Royal Caribbean is taking is untrue."

Royal Caribbean has claimed that security camera footage shows Mr Anello leaning out of the open window prior to Chloe's death.

 

The crime scene on the Freedom of the Seas. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
The crime scene on the Freedom of the Seas. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman

 

The cruise liner sought to dismiss the case based on the security footage, blaming Mr Anello's negligence for the tragedy.

However, Mr Winkleman alleges that the security footage is "deceptive" and only uses two angles of the available 13 cameras. The lawyer has filed a motion to both strike the video footage submitted and for Royal Caribbean to "produce all video footage from all of the cameras".

 

Chloe fell from the window while the ship was docked. Picture: The Sun
Chloe fell from the window while the ship was docked. Picture: The Sun

 

In a previous statement shared with Fox News by Royal Caribbean, the cruise liner called the incident a "heartbreaking tragedy" but offered no further comment on its motion to dismiss.

"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," Royal Caribbean said.

 

Chloe was on the ship with her family.
Chloe was on the ship with her family.

"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."

Mr Anello was charged with negligent homicide by Puerto Rico prosecutors in November. The charge carries a maximum sentence of three years in prison if he is found guilty.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission

Mr Anello and Chloe. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman
Mr Anello and Chloe. Picture: Attorney Michael Winkleman