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Royal Caribbean Claims Indiana Grandfather Knew Cruise Ship Window Was Open When Toddler Fell To Death

CHICAGO (CBS/AP) -- Royal Caribbean cruise lines said this week that new video proves an Indiana grandfather knew a ship window was open before his granddaughter fell to her death.

Surveillance video shows 18-month-old Chloe Wiegand running toward an open window aboard the ship in Puerto Rico on July 7 and last year.

Her grandfather, Salvatore Anello, is seen following her and leaning over the railing for 14 seconds.

He then lifts Chloe up and appears to hold her over the railing for about 34 seconds more, before Chloe fell 11 stories.

Last November, Anello told CBS News he believed the window was closed.

"I didn't realize there wasn't any glass till – absolutely till it was too late," Anello said.

Puerto Rican authorities in late October charged Anello, 50, with negligent homicide.

The Puerto Rico Police Bureau said in a statement in October that Chloe – who was the daughter of a South Bend police officer - landed in the void next to a pan-American dock after falling from the 11th floor of Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas ship.

Prosecutors have offered Anello a plea deal to avoid prison, but he'd have to plead guilty.

Attorney Michael Winkelman has maintained that Royal Caribbean cruises was really to blame.

"These criminal charges are pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family. Clearly this was a tragic accident and the family's singular goal remains for something like this to never happen again," Winkelman said in a statement in late October. "Had the cruise lines simply followed proper safety guidelines for windows, this accident likely would never have happened."

Anello's family is suing the cruise line.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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