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Toddler's Family: Royal Caribbean Destroyed CCTV Footage

Family of Chloe Wiegand, who fell to her death from ship, demands 'the harshest of sanctions'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2021 8:42 AM CST

(Newser) – Earlier this week, Salvatore "Sam" Anello of Indiana was sentenced to three years' probation for the death of his 18-month granddaughter, who fell from his grasp and out an 11th-story window on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas. Chloe Wiegand plummeted 150 feet to her death in the July 2019 incident. Now, Chloe's family—which believes the cruise line, not her devastated grandfather, is responsible for her death—is demanding "the harshest of sanctions" for Royal Caribbean. They claim in a new filing that the company hid and destroyed possibly critical CCTV footage, Fox News reports. The filing also says there'd been "numerous incidents" of similarly dangerous situations involving the ship's windows, including "one child’s near-fall incident merely two years before Chloe's death." Anello, who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the case, says he didn't realize the window Chloe fell out of was open as he held her up to it.

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The filing says the Wiegand family and the US Coast Guard requested CCTV footage that might shed light on whether a crew member or a passenger opened the window that Chloe fell out of. But per the filing, Capt. Frank Martinsen wouldn't hand over CCTV footage showing who'd opened the window or even acknowledge whether the footage showed that. The family claims the company instead "retained only the 30 minutes of footage prior to the incident" and then intentionally destroyed the rest. They assert "the video likely shows that a crew member opened the window and thus created the very condition that led to Chloe's death." In a statement, the Wiegands' attorney says "the evidence is clear that Mr. Anello made an honest mistake, but because of Royal Caribbean's failure to take any steps to protect its youngest passengers, it turned into a fatal tragedy." (Read more Royal Caribbean stories.)

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