A thirty-second freak tornado hit Venice on Friday night (11 September) killing at least 32 people and injuring 255 others.
A thirty-second freak tornado hit Venice on Friday night (11 September) killing at least 32 people and injuring 255 others. The Tornado sucked a water-bus from the Lagoon and tossed it back into the water upside-down before raging ashore to damage a hospital, houses, camping sites and nearby towns.
Twenty corpses have been recovered from the crowded water-bus which was ferrying about 70 passengers from Saint Mark's Square on the main island of Venice to the Lido island. The bus was one of the fleet of vaporettos which form the canal city's public transport system.
Most of the bodies were found during the night as frogmen searched under floodlights and dragged them from the vessel lying intact on the bottom.
The tornado apparently swept in from the sea and carved a path of destruction nearly one mile (one kilometre) wide. Trees were uprooted and roofs ripped off houses.
Twelve people were killed and about 150 injured when the tornado hit a coastal camping site to the east of the city. Eyewitnesses said some campers were hurled 40 yards (metres) through the air before crashing to the ground. The camp is now a scene of disaster and wreckage as rescue workers dug through the debris of caravans and tents.
The centre of Venice itself was unscathed and tourists in the historic Saint Mark's Square were unaware of the devastation elsewhere in the city. Teams of Police, Firemen, Sailors and civilians joined in the rescue operations while other policemen struggled to keep back crowds of people who flocked to the area for news of survivors.