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The Viareggio massacre told 15 years later

There were a few minutes left until midnight on 29 June 2009, almost fifteen years ago, when a freight train loaded with LPG, derailed from the tracks of Viareggio station. The gas that escaped from one of the 14 carriages led to a series of explosions, the sky turned red. Thirty-two people died, some immediately, most after a slow and very long agony due to burns. There were houses next to the station. The area of ​​the city most affected is that of via Ponchielli, almost completely razed to the ground. Many of those who lived there had already gone to sleep, many were woken up by the noise of the derailment, in everyone's memory there is the smell of gas, there are flames, the unbearable heat.

The podcast

Sunset at midnight is the podcast that retraces the news of the Viareggio massacre and also the judicial affair, in search of “truth and justice”, together with the association of relatives of the victims Il mondo che would onlus, taking a look at the issues of railway safety.

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The podcast series by Paolo Buzzone and Giovanni Savarese is available for free on the main podcast platforms starting from May 29, 2024. It is an Audio Tales production. Giovanni Savarese, narrator of the podcast, explains: «It was a difficult journey, at times painful, but important. The Viareggio massacre is not in the collective memory, it was not reported by the major media, even though it turned the lives of dozens of families upside down. The sunset at midnight speaks of people, of the unstoppable force of life, of justice that is often difficult to obtain in our country, and much more.”

Marco Piagentini, who survived the Viareggio massacre on 29 June 2009, in which he lost his wife and two children, tells his story in the podcast. «I tried to scream straight away because I was desperate. You think you are strong and instead in that moment I felt naked, naked in my soul, because I couldn't reach my children. I myself tried to fight to stay alive.”

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«We tried to understand what it really means to find ourselves facing a tragedy like that of Viareggio, adds Paolo Buzzone, «There are many different ways of surviving, many ways of going through pain, hope, desperation and anger. The protagonists of this story paint a complex emotional picture, which also involves a long procedural journey that is not at all obvious and is not yet completely concluded. If it is true that we have arrived at the truth, it is also true that the absence of the State leaves a feeling of great emptiness in this matter».

The process

The Lucca prosecutor's office immediately opened an investigation to verify the causes of the derailment. In July 2013, 33 defendants, natural and legal persons, were sent to trial. Among these also Mauro Moretti, former CEO of Fs and RFI, Michele Mario Elia, former CEO of RFI, and Vincenzo Soprano, former CEO of Trenitalia. In November of the same year the first instance trial began and would last three years. On January 31, 2017, more than 20 of the 33 defendants were sentenced: 7 years to Moretti, 7 and a half years to Elia and Soprano. At the appeal trial, the sentence inflicted in first instance on Moretti was confirmed, while 6 years were confirmed on Elia and Soprano. On 8 January 2021, the Court of Cassation excluded the aggravating circumstance of violation of prevention regulations in the workplace, declaring the crime of multiple manslaughter prescribed. There will be a second appeal in Florence which closed on 30 June 2022 with 13 convictions and 3 acquittals: 5 years of imprisonment for Moretti, 4 years and two months for Vincenzo Soprano and Michele Mario Elia. We also return to the Supreme Court. The trial before the third criminal section opened on 4 December 2023.

The security

Daniela Rombi, first president of The World I Would Like, the association of relatives of the victims of the Viareggio massacre, and mother of Emanuela Menichetti, who died at the age of 21 42 days after the disaster, is one of the guests of the podcast. After obtaining the truth, for her it is time for justice which is for everyone and involves workplace safety to be guaranteed to every person. «Now I feel involved as a citizen. I continue with this life that I am allowed to live, with the association, completely dedicated to the fight for safety at work. Three people die a day at work and this is not acceptable”

Source: Vanity Fair

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