The Associated Press reports tonight that a grandfather who police say dropped the young child from the Freedom of the Seas docked in Puerto Rico last in July has arrested on charges of negligent homicide in the child’s death.
Today, a judge ordered the arrest of Salvatore Anello after state prosecutors submitted evidence that the 2 year-old girl fell to the pavement when he raised her up to an open window on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship.
We reported on the incident on July 7, 2019 – Two Year Old Child Dies After Falling From Freedom of the Seas.
ABC News initially reported that police said that the grandfather of the little girl from Indiana told officers he lost his grip while holding her outside a window on the 11th story of the cruise ship. Later, the family’s Miami lawyer said that the grandfather lifted her up and put her on a railing on the mistaken belief that there there is a glass window at that location.
I explained to a newspaper that proving negligence won’t be an easy feat for the family: “In order for a cruise line to be legally liable for this child’s death, the family’s lawyer must prove that the cruise line acted unreasonably and that the cruise line knew or should have known of the specific danger on its ship . . . This will be an exceedingly difficult burden for the lawyer to meet in this very sad and tragic set of circumstances. Without evidence (prior incidents or proof that the cruise line knew of a dangerous condition on the cruise ship) the chances are slim that the court (if suit is filed) would permit this case to proceed to a jury trial.”
As we previously reported, there have been relatively few situations where toddlers have fallen from upper decks on cruise ships. In 2012, a 14 month old toddler fell from deck 12 to deck 11 on the Monarch of the Seas and was injured. The ship turned around and returned to Port Canaveral, Florida, where the child received urgent medical care and recovered.
The grandfather is reportedly being held on $80,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on November 20th.
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Photo credit: Freedom of the Seas -By Beyond My Ken – CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia; Freedom of the Seas interior – Michael Winkleman via WDRB.