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Instructor Sentenced in Tito Traversa Death

Following a protracted and complex court case, an Italian climbing instructor has been convicted of manslaughter for his involvement in the death of 12 year-old Tito Traversa in 2013, according to Italian magazine Pareti. The talented young climber sustained fatal injuries in Orpierre when the incorrectly assembled quickdraws placed in a warm-up route failed while lowering-off, resulting in a 50-foot groundfall. Nicola Galizia, 36 - an instructor present on the youth club trip - was sentenced to two years in prison and faces judicial expenses in excess of 21,000 euros, writer Andrew Bisharat explains in a blog post.

Tito Traversa aged 8.  © www.titotraversa.it
Tito Traversa aged 8.
© www.titotraversa.it

Two additional defendants involved in the case will not face charges: the owner of Traversa's climbing wall/club and the owner of the manufacturing firm supplying parts for the quickdraws involved in the tragedy.

Due to a quirk of the Italian justice system, Galizia will likely not serve the prison sentence due to it being his first offence, Bisharat writes. Prosecutors had sought a mandatory four year sentence. Two further stages of the trial remain - a 30 day period in which the judge must fully outline their decision and a final stage in which lawyers decide whether to take further legal action.

The quickdraw slings involved in the incident were improperly attached to the plastic/rubber device used to prevent the carabiners from turning on the slings by a non-climbing mother of another child on the climbing team. These mechanisms were therefore the only attachment between the sling and the carabiner and failed on loading.

An incorrectly assembled quickdraw. This image was released by French police of the equipment used.  © UKC News
An incorrectly assembled quickdraw. This image was released by French police of the equipment used.

Although four correctly assembled quickdraws were on the route, these quickdraws were unfortunately placed too low to prevent a groundfall. Traversa was airlifted to Grenoble, France, after the accident where he was hospitalised. He died three days later.

Traversa was a climbing prodigy from Ivrea, Italy. He climbed his first 8b+ at the age of 10 by sending Sarsifal in Tetto di Sarre, Italy. Just two days before his accident, Traversa climbed his fourth 8b+ - Pablo diretta in Gravere, France.

VIDEO: The Potential Danger of Open Slings

Please note: This video was produced prior to the accident and was not made in response to it. Although not entirely comparable in terms of initial assembly, the end result that can potentially occur in open slings is the same as in Tito's tragic case. We feel it is worth highlighting the potential dangers of open slings once again.


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18 May, 2018

Ouch. That sounds slightly harsh. Some imbecile does something stupid and he gets canned for 2 years. I unsderstand why.... it was his ultimate responsibility, but still a little annoying for him I guess.

18 May, 2018

A little annoying? A kid dies and it's a little annoying? 

F*ck me. What planet are you on?

19 May, 2018

Stay open minded everyone.  The Italian judicaries' concept of a fair trial based on the scientific evidence might be different to yours:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20025626

 

Whoever said there was no such concept as a blame-free accident in Italy nailed it.

 

Presumable all avalanches on the Italian side of the Alps are caused by the Swiss?

19 May, 2018

Not sure about Italian law but seems pretty clear that there is blame in this case, the equipment being used was unsafe.

If you are providing paid instruction it is your duty to ensure that equipment and work practices are safe. Whether the blame should lie with the individual instructor or his employers is a different issue. in this case the judge decided it was his responsibility.

If you get things so wrong, either deliberately or lack of care then be prepared to go to jail.

19 May, 2018

But this wasn’t a blame-free accident, was it?  A ‘non-climbing mum’ might have wrongly threaded the draws, but presumably it was a climber who rigged the route and apparently didn’t even look at draws long enough to notice there was anything odd about some of them.  A route being rigged for a child to lead.

 

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