Toddler Family Rejects Royal Caribbean Video Claim As Impossible (see video below) – Case History: On Sunday, July 7, 2019, about 4:30 p.m, South Bend Indiana Police officer Alan Wiegand and his wife Kimberly were departing San Juan, Puerto Rico aboard Royal Caribbean Cruise Line ship Freedom of the Seas, when their 1-and-a-half-year-old toddler daughter Chloe Rae Margaret, fell, plunging 150 feet to her death.
Chloe was aboard the cruise ship with her two siblings, parents and four grandparents.
Grand-father Salvatore Anello insists he’s colorblind and didn’t know the 11th-floor window in the children’s play area was open. He said he believed he was lifting Chloe so that she could bang on the glass-like at a hockey game.
Case update: On Friday, January 24, 2019, the Wiegand’s filed PLAINTIFFS’ NOTICE OF FILING PRELIMINARY EXPERT AFFIDAVIT OF STEVEN J. BECKER stating, “The Plaintiffs, Alan Wiegand And Kimberly Schultz-Wiegand, individually and as personal representatives of the Estate of Chloe Wiegand, by and through undersigned counsel, hereby notice the Court of filing a Preliminary Expert Affidavit of Steven J. Becker in support of Plaintiffs’ Motion to Compel Defendant to Produce all Video Footage [D.E. 14]; and Plaintiffs’ Preliminary Response in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss [D.E. 18].
The Wiegand family says Royal Caribbean lied in its filing. “Royal Caribbean has demonstrably lied to this court and, in so doing, Royal Caribbean has created a false narrative to accompany Royal Caribbean’s carefully selected CCTV video upon which Royal Caribbean bases its motion to dismiss.
In a previous article for this case, it was unclear of the distance between the railing and the window, which is quite clear in this latest submitted photo. The Wiegand family says their attorney’s examination of the area shows it was impossible for Anello, to have leaned over a wooden railing and through the angled window on the Freedom of the Seas cruise ship. The distance between the window frame and the railing was about 18 inches so to even touch the window with the top of his head, the attorney “had to lift his feet at least seven inches off the ground,” the family says. The attorney “could not lean ‘out of the window frame’ due to the distance between the railing and the window frame. In fact, it would have been physically impossible for Mr. Anello to have had his head out of the window frame with his feet on the deck,” it states.
On Monday, January 17, 2020, the Wiegand’s filed a motion to Strike. The Motion to Strike states,
“Herein, Royal Caribbean has not provided this Honorable Court or Plaintiffs with any information as to the sources of the footage, let alone information establishing that they are from “sources whose accuracy cannot reasonably be questioned[,]” as required by Federal Rule of Evidence 201. Without such information, it would be improper to review the video footage in ruling on Royal Caribbean’s Motion to Dismiss, and therefore, the Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court strike such footage from the Court’s docket.
Details as to the Enhancement Royal Caribbean readily admits that it enhanced the video footage. Indeed, in its Motion for Leave to Conventionally File Video Footage [D.E. 8], Royal Caribbean states as follows concerning the five files it conventionally filed: The first two files contain footage from two cameras and in its original format. To view, the Court will need to download software containing a proprietary video player that RCL is including in the Flash Drive (upon request, undersigned can also provide a laptop computer with the proprietary software already installed). The second and third files contain identical footage in higher resolution. The fifth file contains a side-by-side view of the two higher resolution videos.
Royal Caribbean responded, “This is not a case of an unknowing child approaching an open window and falling out because the window was defective or improperly positioned,” the court documents read. “Rather, this is a case about an adult man, Chloe’s step-grandfather who, as surveillance footage unquestionably confirms:
- (1) walked up to a window he was aware was open;
- (2) leaned his upper body out the window for several seconds;
- (3) reached down and picked up Chloe; and
- (4) then held her by and out of the open window for thirty-four seconds before he lost his grip and dropped Chloe out of the window. His actions, which no reasonable person could have foreseen, were reckless and irresponsible and the sole reason why Chloe is no longer with her parents.”
On Monday, October 28, 2019, Puerto Rico’s Justice Department ordered the arrest of Chloe’s grand-father Salvatore Anello. Anello faces a charge of negligent manslaughter in the death of his grand-daughter, Chloe Wiegand. Anello says that he placed Chloe near an open window he thought was closed when her family said she fell out of the ship’s 11th story in July. The San Juan judge “found cause for arrest against the accused, and imposed a bail of $80,000,” the governor’s office said.
The case continues, awaiting the ruling by Judge Donald L. Graham.
- WIEGAND FREEDOM OF SEAS SHIP INSPECTION (DECKS 11 & 12) JANUARY 10, 2020 – (pdf file)
- Motion to Dismiss Wiegands v Royal Caribbean– (pdf file)
- Royal Caribbean Notice of Filing Video Footage – January 16, 2020 – (pdf file)
- Alan Wiegand and Kimberly Weigand vs Royal Caribbean Cruise Line – (pdf file)
- Cruise ship Deaths – Chloe Rae Margaret Wiegand
- Fundly – Chloe Rae Margaret Wiegand
- Freedom of the Seas Live Cruise Ship Tracker
- Puerto Rico Cruise Ship Weather
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