The grandfather charged with negligent homicide after holding up his granddaughter up to an open window of a cruise ship and causing her death, is speaking out in his first emotional interview since her death.
During a talk with CBS This Morning, Salvatore “Sam” Annello broke down in tears recalling the moment he saw toddler Chloe Weigand drop from the 11th floor of a Royal Caribbean cruise ship in Puerto Rico.
“I remember trying to find her on the floor and then I saw her fall, I saw her fall, I saw her fall the whole way down. I saw her fall and I was just in disbelief. And I was like ‘Oh my God,’” he said, grabbing his face.
Sam said all he wanted was to help Chloe bang on the glass for fun, so he picked her up and stood her on the railing, near the window which he believed was closed.
“It happened in seconds,” he recalled, closing his eyes.
“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. 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,” he said.
Even after watching her fall, Sam said he found the tragedy “unbelievable.”
“This seems like it’s so not real,” he admitted, shaking his head with emotion.
David Begnaud asked Sam how felt about dealing with a criminal investigation after losing his granddaughter.
“She’s such a beautiful little girl, perfect little girl, smart little girl… that everybody should’ve been able to know.”
Asked about the surveillance video which shows Sam holding Chloe past the railing.
“Not knowing that there wasn’t glass there. If I thought somehow she was going behind the glass, I wouldn’t have done it. I would’ve been appalled. I wouldn’t mess around with Chloe or anyone in that dangerous kind of… never, never. If there was some kind of warning sign, we wouldn’t have even been near it. We wouldn’t have even been near it.”
At that point, Sam asked to pause the interview to get a drink of water, but tragically broke down, sobbing uncontrollably.
“Whether they find me guilty of whatever or not, it’s inconsequential because of what has already happened is so horrible.”
Sam added despite the fact that the cruise windows are tinted, he is “colorblind” which possibly explains why he didn’t see it was open.
When asked who he blames in the situation, Sam said “initially, I couldn’t help but blame myself.” But as time went on. He realized Royal Caribbean is to blame.
“I know that if there was a sign, if there was a something that there was a change for that window to be open, this wouldn’t happen,” he said. “I just want them to fix the boat, just fix it.”
When asked what has been his lowest point in all of this, Sam said “I don’t know if I’ve reached it yet,” and admitted that while he’s been distracted with the entire legal drama, he knows that when it’s over “I think I’m gonna need some help.”
Sam is due back in court on December 17 in Puerto Rico. He faces three years in prison if convicted.