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., 190 kb
Tito Traversa aged 8.

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., 96 kb
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.

Forums 66 comments

'Unofficial instructor' could either mean he was teaching/helping for free, or that he wasn't and really just happened to be at the crag at the time. The first sounds much more serious than the latter to me, and again,...   Says here that he was the "unofficial" instructor...  I like to think i would have checked the draws.... but if the kid was climbing...
I don’t know the specifics of this case, but if a person under instruction died in an accident and the instructor was found to be grossly negligent there are 3, I think, types of manslaughter charge the police could...
The reporting on this still seems to be incredibly vague.  It's not at all clear to me if the instructor was paid and employed, or merely present, and it's also unclear whether he knew the draws had just been assembled...
I wouldn't dream of it. I've stripped them apart and reassembled them a thousand times or more, I could do it blind. They're quickdraws. It probably wouldn't be manslaughter in the UK. Would that also be correct? ...
I think it's important to remember that he happened to be an instructor, and from what we know, happened to be present with the group. From memory I don't think there's evidence he was actually working at the time and...

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