How Italian firefighters reached avalanche survivors. Hundreds of people from the emergency services, Civil Protection and alpine rescue worked round the clock until all survivors and bodies had been recovered. A total of 29 people died in the avalanche, with autopsies revealing that all but two of them died of impact rather than hypothermia.
Coroners said that at least one of the victims, year-old hotel waiter Gabriele D'Angelo, could have survived had he been reached by rescuers within two hours. The final bodies were not recovered until a week after the snowslide , and the Italian fire service's head of emergency and rescue said it was "one of the most complex operations we have ever managed.
A further six people died in connection with the extreme weather in the area in January when an emergency services helicopter crashed. That number included two of the rescuers who had helped in the Rigopiano search effort. There were 11 survivors, including two guests who were not inside the hotel when the avalanche hit: After two days of rescue efforts in exceptionally harsh conditions, rescuers made contact with a group of six survivors in an air pocket and a mother and her young son were the first to be pulled to safety. One of the officers who reached the group said the survivors "looked like they had been reborn".
In total nine people, including four children, were pulled out alive. Parete's wife, Adriana, and their two children, Gianfilippo, 7, and Ludovica, 6, were among those saved. The family has since written a book about their experience, saying they spent much of the past year struggling to believe they were still alive.
Two other children, Edoardo, 9, and Samuel, 7, were rescued, though each lost both their parents in the tragedy. Georgia Galassi, 22, and her boyfriend Vincenzo Forti, 25, survived. Galassi said her first words to the rescuers — "I'm Georgia, and I'm alive" — was the "most beautiful thing I've ever said".
The final two survivors were year-old Giampaolo Matrone and year-old Francesca Bronzi, whose partners died. Five days after the avalanche, three puppies were found alive under the rubble. A investigation was opened within 24 hours of the tragedy and is still ongoing a year later. Prosecutors have cited 23 people, including regional and local authorities, mayors, a police chief and others responsible for disaster prevention and management, for possible negligence leading to injury and death. There are four main lines of inquiry: A committee of the victims' relatives , who organized the commemorations, said they would use the anniversary to "silently shout to the world our anger and our thirst for truth and justice, which we will never abandon".
President Sergio Mattarella, who along with Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni is due to meet victims' families and survivors in Rome on Monday, called the disaster "a deep wound for the community involved and for the entire country". No one could forget the images of the aftermath or the long wait for survivors and bodies to be found, he said , nor the bravery of the rescue workers — which he called a testimony to "the genuine collective solidarity that the Italian people manages to offer in the most dramatic ordeals".
These were Italy's major news stories in Search Italy's news in English. Italy marks one year since deadly Rigopiano avalanche The Local.
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I fell to sleep unaware that earlier that day, I had lost my little brother Michel. My telephone rang at 5 the next morning. It was my mother calling to say there had been an accident, and I knew from the tone of her voice that it involved one of my brothers. I went numb, my heart sank, and my blood ran cold all at the same time.
Michel had been doing what he loved most when he died, backcountry skiing with friends in the Southern Interior of British Columbia.
While I had been standing at a blackboard, an avalanche had swept my brother and one of his buddies into Kokanee Lake. They had been traversing the steep incline above the lake. His pal Andy managed to swim to shore, but Michel was just too far out. It had taken his other friends hours to dig themselves out and contact the RCMP.
Meanwhile, I had had a normal day, as had the rest of my family back east, as yet blissfully unaware of what had happened. Part of me was certain that Michel was still alive. I felt a spasm of guilt. What was Michel doing out on that glacier? We lived in the same province. I should have visited him more, called him more, watched over him more, done something to keep him from danger. It had already been a trying year for Miche.
While he was driving home through Manitoba in the spring, a careless driver caused an accident that totalled his truck. He escaped serious injury and was most concerned about his dog, Makwa, who had run off from the accident; it took a week to find him. Compounding his hassles, when the police arrived at the accident scene they found some marijuana in the glove compartment, for which he was charged. But perhaps because of that near-death experience, Michel devoted much of the summer to reconnecting with the family, rebuilding the loving relationships that we had all let drift because of geography and busyness.
I had spoken to him on Monday of the week he died, a telephone call I made partly out of guilt. She was right, of course, and I called him later that very day. We had a good talk about many things, the usual back-and-forth chatter between siblings. The subject that I remember most clearly was his plan to spend three days later in the week up on Kokanee Glacier.
I replied in the assertive tone of a concerned parent or older sibling: He knew that I knew little about avalanche dangers and the steps that need to be taken to avoid them. I knew only that mountain skiing in that region of B. All the comments were the same — he was a happy-go-lucky young guy they knew only as Mike, popular with everyone who met him, a bon vivant type with a quick smile.
They were all surprised to learn that this well-liked fellow who had no pretensions and intensely loved exploring the wilderness on skis was the son of a former prime minister. Michel had built so much of his life around the snow and the air and the mountains and the people around him. After booking an early flight to Montreal, I called my father to let him know I was coming and to ask if he had any news.
The only question now is whether or not they find the body.
Michel had ventured to Kokanee because the area held all the attractions he valued in life: Skiing on the glacier above the shore of Kokanee Lake on a perfect sunny day was close to paradise for Miche. Kokanee Lake itself is an alpine jewel about a kilometre long, four hundred metres wide and very deep, surrounded by cliffs and precipitous rock slides.
I understand why Michel would be drawn to it and how he probably weighed the risk of an early-season thaw, despite his laughter at my concern. The danger was not really an impediment. If he wanted badly enough to challenge his skill and satisfy his need for adventure, he would have gone under almost any circumstances.
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He had probably long before come to terms with the risks faced by adventurers in the rugged parts of Canada where he most felt at home. Kokanee Lake was at the bottom of the mountain, and the early-season avalanche knocked him off the path and into the depths of the lake.
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Had it been later in the year, the ice would have been frozen, and he and his buddies would have simply watched from the safety of the track in the centre of the lake as the small slide came down. His comment proved prescient: Michel had carved his own route through life. We had been close as kids, but by the time he entered university, we had drifted apart somewhat.
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