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Grandad who dropped toddler from cruise ship window pleads guilty to her death

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A grandad who dropped a toddler 150ft to her death from the window of a cruise ship has pleaded guilty to her death.

Eighteen-month-old Chloe Weigand died when she fell from Salvatore Anello’s arms through a window on the 11th floor of Royal Caribbean cruise ship the Freedom of the Seas while it was docked in Puerto Rico.

Anello has maintained he thought the window was closed and blamed his colourblindness for not being able to see there was no glass.

Today the 51-year-old formally pleaded guilty to negligent homicide as he appeared in court in San Juan, Puerto Rico, via video link, the Mirror reports.

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A sentencing hearing will now take place on December 10 with Anello facing three years behind bars, reports El Vocero.

Anello made the plea from his home in Indiana, US, and claimed he could not travel to Puerto Rico due to risks associated with Covid-19.

The toddler’s parents – Kimberly and Alan Wiegand – have defended Anello since the events occurred.

Her grandfather said he picked Chloe up and held her over a railing on the 11th floor to look out a bank of windows on July 7, 2019.

the toddler was dropped from an open window
the toddler was dropped from an open window

Anello said he initially had the eighteen-month-old in a hug, but he then let one arm go as they both reached out to knock on the glass.

“At that point, she slipped. I didn’t realise there wasn’t any glass until absolutely it was too late,” Anello said in an interview.

“I saw her fall. I saw her fall the whole way down. It was disbelief.”

In a statement, an attorney for the Wiegand family, Michael Winkleman, said because the plea agreement did not include prison time and no admission of facts, it was in the family’s best interest to move on.

Chloe’s parents sued Royal Caribbean last year and accused the company of negligence.

In response, the company said that surveillance video shows Anello leaning out the window for about eight seconds before lifting the girl out of the open window for 34 seconds before he lost his grip.

The case has yet to be settled.

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About Kirigaya Kazuto

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Kazuto Kirigaya, born as Kazuto Narusaka, is a fictional character and the protagonist of the Sword Art Online series of light novels written by Reki Kawahara.

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