The beach was within sight, which is probably why the birthday party felt so safe on Lake Maggiore, even when the skies were getting dark and the wind was picking up. The authorities must now determine why the captain did not head to the bank in time despite the storm warning, although according to eyewitness reports the storm could already be seen and heard from the east.
But the party ship with 23 tourists on board was suddenly hit by a gust of wind and capsized Sunday around 7pm in front of the commune of Lisanza, a district in Sesto Calende at the southernmost tip of Italy’s second-largest lake.
The boat immediately sank to a depth of 15 meters. Most of the guests were picked up by other boats in the pouring rain or managed to swim to the shore 150 meters away. Two women and two men died – three tourists and the wife of the boat owner.
The Coast Guard and Fire Department were with the boatsA helicopter and divers are on duty. The body of the fourth victim was not recovered from the bottom of the lake until Monday. According to the head of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, the “very serious incident” was caused by a “hurricane”, and there was sometimes talk of a “hurricane”. This is technically exaggerated, weather forecasters prefer to talk about thunderstorms.
However, it is true that an ordinary storm should not normally capsize a 16-meter boat. Instead, it was probably a single gust of wind coming out of a thunderstorm at a speed of more than a hundred kilometers per hour.
Such sudden events cannot be expected, but the thunderstorms that fuel them can. According to meteorologists, weather models also predicted a violent storm on Lake Maggiore on Sunday evening.