MS Independence of the Seas, a Freedom-class cruise ship operated by the Royal Caribbean cruise line
Viral Video Shows Huge Bahamas Cruise Ship Smashed Into Construction Crane Getty Images | Horacio Villalobos - Corbis

The Wiegand family is still grieving the loss of their 18-month old daughter Chloe who was accidentally dropped by her grandfather through an open window. The incident happened when the family went on a cruise aboard the Royal Caribbean and CCTV footage of the whole thing was captured.

While that should shed more light on what happened, the Weigands suffered a big blow with reports that the Royal Caribbean intentionally destroyed all video footage of the incident. This dealt a big blow to the defense of the grandfather, Anello.

Anello avoided jail time by pleading guilty, a move that lawyers claim was done for him to avoid jail time in Puerto Rico. He was sentenced to three years of probation for accidentally dropping his granddaughter through an open window when the Freedom of the Seas docked in San Juan in July 2019.

But a different twist to the whole issue was the fact that the boat’s former Chief Security Officer, Elton Koopman, admitting that he witnessed repeated incidents of fall hazards involving the pool deck windows, the Daily Mail reported.

He added that he did his part to rectify the matter by keeping the windows closed and warning passengers. At the time of the incident, the window was open and it appears that an employee may have been behind it. But with the CCTV footage destroyed, that may all be irrelevant now. It remains to be known if the Freedom of the Seas destroyed footage to avoid facing damages tied to the case.

The Wiegands now have no choice but to request the judge in the lawsuit to enter a default judgment in their favor for the spoliation of evidence. If successful, the case will go directly to a jury to determine the damages that could reach tens of millions of dollars.

Given that the cruise operator is already struggling, that could deal them a big blow as they try to keep their business afloat amid the pandemic.

The Freedom of the Seas
The Freedom of the Seas Getty Images | Spencer Platt

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