Grandfather charged in Indiana toddler's cruise ship death suggests colorblindness may be to blame

Salvatore 'Sam' Anello has been charged with negligent homicide and faces up to three years in prison if convicted.

                            Grandfather charged in Indiana toddler's cruise ship death suggests colorblindness may be to blame
(Source : Getty Images)

The grandfather of an Indiana toddler who fell to death from the 11th deck of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in July has suggested that his colorblindness may have been a contributing factor in the tragedy.

Speaking out for the first time since he was charged with negligent homicide over the death of his 18-month-old granddaughter Chloe Wiegand on July 7, Salvatore 'Sam' Anello offered up the information during an interview with CBS' 'This Morning.'

He revealed the condition after he was asked if he knew that the windows on the Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas, the ship where Chloe died, were tinted to distinguish if they were opened or closed.

"I’m colorblind," he said. "I don’t know. I just never saw it… I’ve been told that that’s a reason that it might have happened."

Medical records obtained by CBS confirmed that Anello did have colorblindness.

During the same interview, Anello also spoke about the horrifying moment that his granddaughter fell from his grasp, and recalled the traumatizing moment. "I remember trying to find her on the floor and then I saw her fall, I saw her fall, I saw her fall and I was just in disbelief," he said. "And I was like 'Oh my God.' And I think for a while I was in shock and I was just standing there."

"And then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass," he continued. "I thought there was glass. I still say it to myself, it's just, I kind of relive it all the time and I just thought there was glass there. I don't know what else to tell you."

"It seems like it's all not real. She's such a beautiful little girl. Perfect little girl."

MEA WorldWide previously reported that Chloe had been on a holiday with her parents and grandparents on the ship when the tragedy occurred. The cruise liner had been docked in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on July 7, and while she was playing on the 11th deck with Anello, fell through an open window onto the concrete pier 150 feet below, dying instantly.

Last month, a judge ordered Anello's arrest after prosecutors presented evidence that they claimed showed the grandfather was guilty of negligent homicide. Michael Winkleman, the family's attorney, has slammed the Puerto Rican prosecutors and said the charges were like "pouring salt on the open wounds of this grieving family."

Anello is scheduled to make his next court appearance on December 17.

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