Etna, 12 September 1979, death and pain. The doctor's story, after 38 years. 'Those lacerating images, that ghostly climate'
The history of the volcanic Sunday is carved in large letters in the memory and in the heart of those who have lived and lived in Etna, loved it and loved it. It is the story of a tragedy, which the Etna collective imagination - it is understandable - tends to hide or even remove.
It is the story of the Twelve September 1979, a story of death and pain. 38 years have passed. Nine dead and twenty-two wounded, some serious. Tragic event. 'Unfortunately when we talk about the Bocca Nuova - Mario Mattia, the first technician of the INGV of Catania, wrote on this blog, speaking some time ago of the birth of that crater of Etna - it is inevitable to speak of the dramatic 12 September 1979, when about 150 tourists found themselves caught up in a sudden explosion. The story of that day still burns in the memory of those, tourists and tour operators, lived those moments in which a column of ash rose from the Bocca Nuova, accompanied by the launch of basalt blocks that fell at a speed of 50 meters per second all around the crater. A real bombardment that put the frightened tourists in an untidy escape, trying to reach the off-road vehicles that were at the parking lot under the central crater, causing serious injuries even in the inevitable falls along the uneven paths. Unfortunately, for nine of them, there was nothing to do '.
At our request, he agreed to remember that painful day for the IlVulcanico.it blog after 38 years, Dr. Francesco Zipper, a doctor with a great experience in the Alpine Rescue and a man of Etna with a brilliant historical memory who, at that time 27 years old, took part in the operations of recovery and, since he was the only doctor present, at the reconstruction of the bodies.
The result was a story of great impact, which personally excited and moved me, precious for many young fans who know nothing about that tragedy, but also for those who, like us, lived elsewhere and read the news in the newspapers. An extraordinary testimony, clean, heartfelt, thrilling. Written well, with pathos and remarkable descriptive efficacy, by an experienced doctor and educated man, who suffered a lot from doing his job that day.
I thank very much, with all my heart, my friend Dr. Francesco Zipper for having honored 'exclusively' the Volcanic and myself with this re-enactment so clear, important, precious. Not to forget the Twelve September 1979, a day of pain and death for Etna and Etna, which perhaps marked a point of no return in the history of the great Muntagna. And to remember always and at all times that the largest active Volcano in Europe, even in cases (rare) as dramatic as the one we tell each, is always and only his job ... of Vulcan and that we, in front of his power and unpredictability, we are infinitely small.....