“Disgrace”. Families of avalanche victims outraged by court verdict

  • Thursday, February 23 (19:53)

    Five people were sentenced, and 25 acquitted in the trial that ended on Thursday in the case of an avalanche that hit a hotel in Abruzzo, Italy, six years ago. 29 people died then. The acquittals sparked a demonstration by the families of the victims. Attorneys have announced an appeal.

    The mayor of Fardindola , Ilario Lacchetta, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison before the Pescara First Instance Court. It was in this commune that the Rigopiano hotel was located, destroyed by an avalanche on January 18, 2017. 29 people died then, and 11 people were saved.

    The prosecutor demanded over 11 years in prison for the mayor. He accused him of serious negligence that led to the disaster.

    Among others, the former prefect of Pescara and the former head of the provincial government were acquitted. The hotel owner was punished six months of suspended imprisonment. Provincial officials were sentenced to three years and four months.

    The court’s decision to acquit most of the accused was met with violent backlash. the reaction of the families of the victims. In the courtroom, they arranged 29 empty chairs, spreading on them T-shirts with photos of the dead
    Photographs were also placed on the sidewalk in front of the courthouse.

    After the judge read the verdict, relatives of the victims they began to shout in the court: “Disgrace”, “Salesmen”.

    In total, 29 people and one company were charged with the indictment.

    The Rigopiano hotel tragedy, which took place after heavy snowfall in the mountains of Abruzzo, left many questions and uncertainties unanswered. Attempts were made to determine whether the descent of the avalanche could have been caused by an earthquake that occurred that day in this part of Italy. Numerous controversies were also caused by the lack of reaction of the local services, to which even earlier, before the avalanche, appeals were sent to clear the road leading to the hotel from snow, so that guests concerned about snowstorms could leave it.

    The reaction of the local authorities immediately after the tragedy was also belated. According to the recording of telephone conversations, initially officials did not believe the alarm and calls for help. Discussions also aroused the question of the location of the hotel, built in an avalanche-prone area.

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