This grandpa wanted to go on a family holiday but instead, he lost his granddaughter in an accident on the cruise ship.
Salvatore "Sam" Anello, a grandfather from Indiana went on a family trip that changed the course of his and his family's life. He wanted to be able to spend time with his granddaughter who he loved more than anyone, and enjoy his time on a cruise ship. But, something that happened there makes him think that the hardest thing that comes his way won't compare to the agony of what happened during the cruise.
He had his 18-month-old granddaughter, Chloe Wiegand, in his arms when the duo went to the 11th floor of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship they were on. He wanted her to see the world outside from that height but he was unaware that there was an open window. He saw Chloe fall 150 ft. The tragic accident took place in July 2019 and broke his and his family's heart. Her grief-stricken mother was inconsolable.
"She's such a beautiful little girl, a perfect little girl … smart little girl, smart little girl that everybody should have been able to know, that everybody should have been able to know," the granddad, who still talks of her like she is alive, told CBS News in an exclusive interview.
He thought there was glass in the window, but "it's like it disappeared. It's like the glass disappeared," he said. "I bent down by her. We always, like, whenever you're at hockey games, we would bang on the glass, and it was fun, you know," Sam said. "So, when I knelt down to be with her at that level, I couldn't reach the glass really, only with my fingertips so I knew she couldn't. So that's when I decided I'd pick her up. So, I was trying to stand her on the railing, and it happened in seconds."
He believes that his being colorblind could have contributed towards the accident. He was informed later that the windows are tinted and if there was no glass there would be no tint.
"I'm colorblind, David," Sam told the interviewer. "I don't know. I just never saw it. ... I've been told that that's a reason that it might have happened."
When she slipped from his hands, he initially looked for her on the floor. It was when he didn't find her there that he realized she fell from the window. "I saw her fall. I saw her fall the whole way down. I saw her fall, and I was just in disbelief. I was like, 'Oh my God,' ... And then I just remember screaming that I thought there was glass," he said.
After the fall, there were multiple accounts of what happened. The cruise ship was docked in Puerto Rico when it happened and the grandfather was accused of negligent homicide in the death of Chloe. However, he is a broken man who no longer seems to care what the criminal investigation brings out. For him, the "worst thing" was losing her.
"Chloe being gone is the worst thing ever. So I'm like, whatever," Sam said. "There's nothing worse that they could do to me than what's already happened. Whether, you know, they find me guilty of whatever or not. It's inconsequential because of what has already happened is so horrible," he told CBS.
He still hasn't come to terms with the loss and her being gone seems "not real" to him. His first reaction was to blame himself but he has realized that if there was a sign the tragedy would have been averted, according to CNN. He just wants them to "fix the boat. Just fix it. Just fix the boat."
The family did not want to press charges but the Puerto Rican authorities still charged him. He is due back in court on December 17 and Chloe's family plans to press charges against the cruise ship company.