Tourism & Cruises

Man charged with negligent homicide in granddaughter’s fatal fall from a cruise ship

Sam Anello and granddaughter Chloe Wiegand at Compton Family Ice Arena on the University of Notre Dame campus.
Sam Anello and granddaughter Chloe Wiegand at Compton Family Ice Arena on the University of Notre Dame campus. Courtesy the Wiegand family via Green Goddess Public Relations

An Indiana man whose toddler granddaughter fell to her death from a Royal Caribbean ship has been charged with negligent homicide by the Puerto Rico Department of Justice, the department announced Monday.

Sam Anello’s bail will be $80,000 if he’s extradited to Puerto Rico, according to Puerto Rico-based media outlet Metro.

“These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family,” Miami attorney Michael Winkleman said in a statement to the Miami Herald. “Clearly this was a tragic accident and the family’s singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again. Had the cruise lines simply followed proper safety guidelines for windows, this accident likely would never have happened.

“Also Royal Caribbean has still not given us the opportunity to view surveillance video they have of the incident. We intend to file a lawsuit very shortly.”

Anello was holding 2-year-old Chloe Wiegand on the Freedom of the Seas as it was docked in San Juan on July 7 before she fell through an open pane of glass. Wiegand died on impact after a plunge estimated at 11 stories.

Chloe’s family said, through Winkleman, that Chloe liked to bang on glass panes while watching her older brother play hockey, but on the ship, the middle pane had been opened from the inside. So, the family alleged, when Chloe threw herself against what Anello thought was glass, her continued momentum pulled her from her grandfather’s grasp.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
  Comments