Severe Storm Leaves 4 Dead on 'Spy Boat' in Italy

The boat was holding 23 passengers, 21 of whom were former spies for either Israeli or Italian intelligence agencies.

Mattia Ozbot / Getty Images

A storm on Lake Maggiore in Lombardy, Italy led to the deaths of four people on a boat.

However, these weren’t regular passengers, per The New York Times. It seems a majority of the 23 people on the boat were former spies. Of the 21 people who were ex-operatives, 13 were from Mossad, Israel’s foreign intelligence service, and eight were Italian agents.

A storm with extreme winds took out the boat. A weather warning earlier in the day didn’t deter the group from going out onto the lake to celebrate a birthday. Two of the victims worked for Italy’s intelligence agency, one was reportedly a retired Mossad operative, and the fourth person was a Russian woman who was married to the boat’s skipper.

Theories abounded about what the group was actually doing on the boat, called the “Good…uria,” a pun on the Italian phrase for pleasure. Some media outlets wondered if the operatives were exchanging information, while others deemed it to be a “spy party.”

Such speculation hasn’t been concerning to prosecutor Massimo De Filippo and chief prosecutor Carlo Nocerino, who are investigating the incident. Their main objective is to figure out why the boat capsized and sank.

“We’re not interested in what the passengers were doing,” he told The Times.

The skipper, Carlo Carminati, is currently being looked at on suspicion of negligent homicide, causing a shipwreck, and being responsible for injuring those who survived. Unfortunately, the team who was tasked with resurfacing the boat has been unsuccessful, as it remains underwater.

The Israeli survivors were quickly taken home by an aircraft sent by the Mossad. According to a former official, Mossad and Italian intelligence share information that is of mutual concern, like the war on terrorism or the Iranian nuclear project.

The Mossad would not identify its former operative who died. The two Italian spies who passed were Claudio Alonzi and Tiziana Barnobi, and the Russian woman was Anna Bozhkova.

The severity of the story on Lake Maggiore was unexpected. A weather warning in the area said there would be possible thunderstorms that night, with wind speed indicators showing gales of 26 to 37 miles per hour.

A group of people had been on a boat on Sunday evening and helped rescue some of the survivors from the Good…uria. 

“The weather had been fine all day,” a rescuer, Samuel Panetti said. “There was so much rain, and hail, and the wind tossed the boat from left to right.”

He and his friends then saw the sinking boat and threw “anything that floated” into the water to help them. “It was terrifying seeing all those people in the water — it seemed like a scene from a film. I still have a hard time believing it was true,” he said. “If we hadn’t come by, I think they would have all died,” he said.

The two women who died were found trapped inside the boat after it sank, the third victim was discovered at the bottom of the lake, and the fourth was found floating in the water.

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