Chronicle of a disaster | The sailors’ night of fear in Rapallo


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This was a night of terror for some 20 sailors in Rapallo, who being on board the yachts furthest out to sea were isolated by the collapse of the breakwater and in order not to be swept away by the waves, they tied themselves up making ropes, only to be rescued and hospitalized, some at risk of hypothermia.

There is not much left in the Carlo Riva harbor in Rapallo, Liguria. Damage is counted everywhere in the Tyrrhenian Sea, but right now Rapallo appears to be one of the hardest hit, a veritable graveyard of sunken or nearly sunken boats, including even some large yachts. Our reporter, Bacci Del Buono went to the site to tell us what the situation is actually like.

What happened last night? Reconstruction

During the day yesterday the entire Tyrrhenian coast was gripped in the grip of bad weather. In Rapallo, an immense wave in the late afternoon knocked away the forebay dam, leaving the force of the sea to discharge directly onto the moored yachts. From that moment on, there was nothing more to be done: one after another the mooring lines are broken under the rush of water starting to directly sweep over the now defenseless boats. The sailors who were on board rushed out of the boats, but it was too late, as much of the walkway, which had now become a wave transit area, was missing. At this point about 20 of them tied up making ropes, only to be rescued in the night.

Beyond are dozens and dozens of luxury boats and yachts: one of the most illustrious and impressive victims was Suegno, the 37-meter Ferretti, owned by the Berlusconi family, which now lies half-sunken in the middle of the harbor. In this town, in addition to having swept away the breakwater of the harbor, the sea also made the lighthouse disappear.

The damage in Rapallo

A few hours after the disaster, the actual extent of the damage is still unknown, but several million euros are estimated for the boats alone. Those that did not sink, however, suffered severe damage, including structural damage, eventually beaching in a jumble of hulls and debris. To this must be added everything related to port facilities and damage to waterfront activities.



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