Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Bex-Lemon
View of the Lake Maggiore from Suna, Verbania, 2018

A retired Israeli security (aka Mossad) officer was one of four people who died Sunday when a birthday party on a tourist boat on Lake Maggiore in Italy was interrupted by a sudden storm.

There were more than 20 tourists and crew members on the 52-foot vessel when it capsized in the stormy waters. Nineteen people managed to swim ashore.


Two of the deceased were Italian secret service agents, according to a report by the British Daily Mail news outlet.

The fourth victim was the Russian wife of the skipper.

According to unconfirmed reports in Italian media, the “birthday party” on the vessel was a meeting held between the various intelligence personnel.

A search and rescue helicopter was deployed to locate those who were dumped into the icy water of the lake, a popular tourist destination that straddles the border with Switzerland and lies on the south side of the Alps.

The Israeli Consul in Rome has been working together with the Foreign Ministry’s department for Israelis abroad to bring the coffin of the 50-year-old retired Israeli security officer home to Israel, according to the Israel Hayom daily.

In addition to the four people who died (including the retired Israeli security officer), 20 other intelligence personnel – 10 of whom were Israeli — survived the tragedy. They were flown back to Israel on a special military flight, according to a report published by the “La Repubblica” Italian newspaper.

The 10 Italian intelligence personnel who survived the disaster were initially taken to nearby emergency rooms for treatment but then were quietly evacuated to special facilities to protect their identities, according to the report.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.