The death boat on Lake Maggiore, a Dutch ferry built in 1982, could accommodate a maximum of 15 passengers: but there were 8 more on board, women and men, mostly from the Italian and Israeli Mossad secret services. The difficulties in the maneuverability of the vehicle, even under normal conditions, and the storm led to the tragedy with the death of four of its occupants.
In fact, at 19:20 p.m. on Sunday, May 28, this "houseboat", a "houseboat" of 15 meters in length, with 23 passengers on board, perhaps should not have moved away from the dock of Sesto Calende, in the province of Varese, but stay close to the coast and therefore in a favorable position for possible rescue operations in the face of the sudden worsening of bad weather.
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Four killed by boat capsizing on Lake Maggiore
- Editor: ANDREA CAMURANI AND ANDREA GALLI (Corriere della Sera)
Four killed by boat capsizing on Lake Maggiore
In addition, the weather forecasts, which were not read or were underestimated, announced a progressive worsening (at Malpensa airport the planes that should have taken off remained parked on the runway) and announced the risk of even more critical events.
The storm, which would have included a waterspout and carrier of wind gusts between 70 and 90 kilometers per hour, some speculate even higher than 100, overturned the hull in the space of a few seconds causing the death of four people.
Tiziana Barnobi and Claudio Alonzi, intelligence service agents, 53 and 62 years old, respectively, (she with one child and he with two) and Shimoni Erez, 53, born in Israel who allegedly served in the Mossad, and Anna Bozhkova, 50, a Russian woman from the city of Bryansk, who was in Italy with unlimited residence permit and wife of skipper Claudio Carminati , are the four fatalities of the sinking.
Carminati, 10 years older than his wife, with extensive experience in various commercial activities, from clothing stores to pastry shops, has an excellent command of the Bulgarian language from previous work in Sofia as well as French, was driving the ship on Sunday.
The trip to the lake was not planned, but occurred because, after meetings in Lombardy to exchange information and documents, the Israelis had missed the plane back and would have decided to extend the stay over the weekend, until returning on Monday, May 29 to their country, according to one of the unofficial versions.
Taking advantage of the friendship with Carminati, it is unknown whether on the Italian or foreign side, someone had proposed the trip over the waters. The result of the investigation of the Public Ministry of Busto Arsizio, led by Carlo Nocerino and the carabinieri of the Provincial Command of Varese, under the command of Colonel Gianluca Piasentin, could trigger serious legal consequences for the skipper (including the accusation of homicide), owner together with his wife of the newly created company Love Lake srl. and owner of the ship.
On April 5, in the city of Alessandria, in the office of the notary Aldo Mariano, the couple had ratified the creation of the company aimed at the "organization of excursions", "boat accommodation activities" and the "management of hotels and non-hotel facilities, and in particular owners, bed & breakfast, holiday houses and apartments, mountain huts and religious houses of welcome", with a share capital of 475 euros.
Rescue workers in Lake Maggiore after the sinking of a boat. PURICELLI | EFE
Autopsies will reveal the cause of death because, in addition to the ahoginth, it is not excluded that one or more victims were trapped in the sunken hull, at a depth of sixteen meters.
From sailors to residents and boat owners on Lake Maggiore sailed, despite the weather hazards, to the site of the accident, about 120-150 meters from the coast.
Cries for help
"I heard screams for help, desperate screams. I saw many swimming in the icy water," said retiree Franco Lora.
I immediately left in the boat, but the boat could no longer be seen, it had already been swallowed by the lake. You could only see pieces of wood and chairs floating around," said Daniele Piccaluga, owner of the shipyard of the same name.
Advertising for Claudio Carminati's business on Lake Maggiore, a popular tourist destination in the southern Alps, included that "we sail even in case of rain."
It is not ruled out that there had been modifications to the hull to add additional space for passengers, at the top of the ship, which the ongoing investigation will determine as well as whether those changes were in accordance with the regulations or not, even if they could have amplified the impact of the storm. The investigation is not easy.
In the meantime, the possibility of real or suspected secrets linked to the Mossad missions in Lombardy will have to be evaluated, with the reconstruction of the days before the trip. Given the profiles of the victims, the roles and the type of work they developed, there are many questions in this investigation that goes beyond the sinking of a boat in Lake Maggiore due to unfavorable weather conditions.
Israel's Foreign Ministrysaid one of the dead is an Israeli citizen, in his fifties, "a former member of the Israeli security forces," AFP reports.
A statement from Italy's security services said the two Italian dead men worked in their country's intelligence services and were taking part in a private trip.
The boat, 16 meters long, capsized on Sunday afternoon off Lisanza, at the southern end of the lake, after being surprised by a sudden storm and strong winds.
The president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, lamented on Sunday night "a very serious incident", caused by a "whirlpool", reports Afp.
Survivors were rescued from the water by other boats or managed to swim to shore.
The ship was carrying Italian and foreign tourists, and sank quickly.
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