Four dead as boat carrying British tourists overturns in whirlwind on Italian lake

29 May 2023, 13:03

Rescue workers have recovered four bodies from a northern Italian lake
Rescue workers have recovered four bodies from a northern Italian lake. Picture: Vigili del Fuoco

By Emma Soteriou

Four people have died after a boat carrying British tourists capsized during a whirlwind on a northern Italian lake.

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Divers searched overnight after a whirlwind overturned the boat carrying more than 20 tourists and crew on Lago Maggiore in Lombardy on Sunday evening.

The final body was recovered early on Monday.

Attilio Fontana, who is the president of the Lombardy region, described the incident as "very serious".

Firefighters said 19 people were saved and many are understood to have either swam to shore or been picked up by other boats.

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The boat was believed to be carrying up to 25 people who were celebrating a birthday when it capsized and sank, according to Italian news site La Repubblica.

The publication said three of the victims were an Italian man and woman and the skipper's wife, who was Russian.

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Firefighter video showed pieces of wood floating in the lake as a helicopter flew overhead.

The whirlwind was part of a storm system that hit the northern region of Lombardy on Sunday evening, forcing delays at Malpensa airport.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: "We are in contact with local authorities in Italy after a boat accident and are ready to provide consular assistance to any British nationals involved." 

Lake Maggiore is the second largest lake in Italy and is a popular tourist destination. It lies on the south side of the Alps.

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