It was such a tragic story! A grandfather held his baby granddaughter out of a cruise ship window and she fell and died. Now the grandfather is pleading guilty, in a bid for his family to find peace.

Salvatore Anello was charged after dropping 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand out a cruise ship window. The baby fell 45m to her death while the ship was docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The grandfather has this week, pleaded guilty to the charges of negligent homicide, as reported in news.com.au.

Mr. Anello had been responsible for looking after his granddaughter on 7 July 2019, during a family holiday on board the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Freedom of the Seas.

So Tragic!

He picked Chloe up so she could bang on the glass of the window just as she did at her brother’s hockey games. Sadly, the toddler then fell through the open window. The awful footage was later leaked.

While the family was opposed to Mr Anello facing charges,  family lawyer Michael Winkleman said in a statement that the plea will allow the family to move on, as reported on NBC.

Close This Chapter

“It was decided the plea deal is in the best interests of the family so that they can close this horrible chapter,” Mr Winkleman said.

Mr Anello originally pleaded not guilty in July last year, and he rejected a plea deal late last year.

However, he has now changed his plea to guilty, saying he would do whatever is necessary to end the nightmare for the family.

End This Nightmare

“I took a plea deal to try to help end part of this nightmare for my family, if possible,” he said in a statement.

“The support they continue to give me has been beyond overwhelming and I can’t tell you how grateful I am for them.”

The plea deal means that Mr Anello will not have to go to jail. Instead, he will serve probation in his home in Indiana.

The grandfather will be sentenced on 10 December, as reported on NBC.

Chloe Wiegand and her grandfather. tragic story of toddler who fell from cruise ship

Was The Cruise Ship Company At Fault?

Chloe’s parents, Alan and Kimberly Wiegand are still pursuing their law suit against Royal Caribbean for unlimited damages.

“We will continue the fight for justice for Chloe and to hold Royal Caribbean accountable for its brazen failure to follow the standards designed precisely to prevent children from falling out of windows.” their family lawyer said.

Royal Caribbean has maintained that tinted handles on the windows would have indicated that it was open.

Mr Anello said he is colour blind and as a result did not see that the window was open.

What are your thoughts about this awful cruise ship tragedy? Tell us in the comments below.


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  • That poor man will live with what has happened and that is worse than any sentence could be. I feel sorry for all concerned.


  • Well he was guilty. He didn’t do it on purpose but he did do it.


  • Although it’s a tragedy, I’m not sure why he gets to serve his sentence at home rather than in jail.


  • Just heartbreaking and so sad. I don’t think there is any good outcome really. I think Grandad will live with the guilt and devastation of this for the rest of his life. Such a tragic accident.


  • Having said that I think the Grandfather was to blame, I can see that would be hard for the parents to accept. They’re still wrong to sue.


  • Such a tragedy all round. The family have to live with this forever and charges laid that they didn’t want in the first place. I hope there’s a change in how they manage windows in the future on cruise ships.


  • What a nightmare :(, reading this sends shivers down my spine. My thoughts are with the family.


  • Trying to blame the cruise ship for his actions – not on. He definitely needed to accept responsibility -he held her out and he dropped her. Case closed.


  • I remember when this happened. It is horrible and the grandfather deserves jail for life. There is no such a thing as an accident in this case.


  • A heartbreaking incident ! I doubt if it really helps to point fingers. Maybe windows on a cruise ships shouldn’t be able to open other then a couple of centimeters ?

    • I agree or I didn’t think the windows did open. I was under the impression you needed a balcony suite if you wanted to go outside.


  • Gosh the pain the whole family must be feeling.. the poor grand father must be beside himself, just can’t imagine ????

    • Yes it’s hard to imagine what they’re are going through.


  • Absolutely tragic story and news that I’ve read. It’s sad


  • This poor family has suffered the ultimate loss, I don’t believe the grandfather is guilty and he is punishing himself enough as it is. The cruise ship should be held accountable for what happened to this innocent little girl.


  • That poor family. That would be so devastating. I hope they can all get through this horrible tragedy.


  • Can’t bear to watch the footage but tragic all round, and unbearable loss for the family to not see their daughter grow up.


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