«Suddenly, the sky turned black, a very heavy rain broke out and you could see almost nothing from the shore, not even in front of the small bay of Piccaluga, from where I believe the boat left. . .” . So says the owner of Nautica Lisanza, while at ten in the evening, on this small Lombard shore of Lake Maggiore, they are still trying to understand what really happened a few tens of meters from the shore where yesterday evening a group of tourists found themselves in water for the arrival of a storm.
Bad weather caught them on their way back to shore and the tour boat capsized. It would seem a whirlwind around half past seven in the evening and the sixteen-metre boat, which was sailing on Lake Maggiore, capsized: more than twenty people ended up in the water. Late in the evening, the toll is two dead and two missing, while the search for divers from the fire brigade and the carabinieri of the Varese provincial command continues unabated.
It happened at sunset, after a sunny and calm afternoon. A total of twenty foreign tourists – apparently English and German – and Italians, and two crew members boarded the houseboat. The strong wind came suddenly, the waves rose, the boat capsized and sank.
Lake Maggiore, bad weather overturns a boat with 24 people on board
Between screams and desperate attempts to cling to something, to save their lives, everyone ended up in the water. The alarm was raised by the crew of another boat passing through the waters of Sesto Calende, in the province of Varese, on the southeast shore of the lake. They immediately started rescuing the first castaways, while most of them swam to Marina di Lisanza and Piccaluga.
Chilled by the icy water, almost all were assisted on the spot by the 118 rescuers while five ended up in hospital: three in yellow code and two in green code. Within a few moments, the region’s maxi-emergency machine started up. An air ambulance, three medical vehicles, two Areu coordination vehicles, ten ambulances, the Milan and Varese firefighters, the Coast Guard and the carabinieri arrived on the scene.
Meanwhile, on the lake, searches were slowed by heavy rain and darkness. The lifeless body of a man was identified in the water from the “Drago 150” helicopter. A firefighter jumped in and recovered the victim’s body. Late in the evening, his identity is still not certain because he did not have the documents on him, but it would appear to be a 53-year-old foreign man. While in the evening, divers found the body of the second victim. He was in the wreck of the boat, sixteen meters down.
The carabinieri, directed by Gianluca Piasentin and coordinated by the public prosecutor of Busto Arsizio, Carlo Nocerino, collected the testimonies of the survivors until late at night in order to trace the identity of the missing.
In the evening, the Lombard governor, Attilio Fontana, expressed his concern about the tragedy on social media: «I am following with concern the updates from the rescue teams on site, which I thank. Nineteen people have already been rescued, unfortunately there are news of some missing people».
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