Italy: mystery surrounding the death of Italian and Israeli spies in a shipwreck on Lake Maggiore

An air of detective novel after the disappearance Sunday, May 28 of a tourist boat on Lake Maggiore, in Lombardy (North) which made four victims. The Italian press wonders about the nature of the sinking, the circumstances of which are disturbing: the 21 passengers on board were all linked to the Italian and Israeli secret services. The Italian police have opened an investigation, describing for the moment the tragedy as a simple accident, and intend to analyze the wreckage, located 15 meters deep.

Rescue services search for survivors after a boat sank on Lake Maggiore, Lombardy, May 28, 2023. © Press service of the Vigili del fuoco, via AFP

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Sunday, May 28, the weather in northern Italy was bad: warning of thunderstorms and storms on the lake, it is said that the Italian captain of the boat had hesitated to cast off. He finally agreed to take 21 people for a day of walking on the lake, while the boat was only approved for 15 people, reports our correspondent in Rome, Anne Tréca.

Assuming he was surprised by the force of the wind, the sailor may have tried to return along the coast. However, the flat-bottomed boat, designed as a dwelling, sank steeply, about 200 meters from the shore. Most of the passengers jumped into the water without life jackets and were rescued. A retired Israeli intelligence agent, two Italian counterparts and the skipper's Russian wife were found dead.

Is it a technical failure, a human failure or a huge negligence on the part of the captain? The Italian security services explained in a statement that the two Italian intelligence agents "were in the region to participate in a friendly meeting organized on the occasion of the birthday of one of the participants". But the profile of the victims is more reminiscent of an Italian-Israeli meeting of spies than a banal Sunday excursion between old comrades.

The surviving passengers were rescued by other boats nearby or were able to swim to shore, Italian media reported.

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