Crucifix in Northern Italy collapses, crushing man to death

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

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Ahead of Sunday’s scheduled canonization of Pope John Paul II, in the Italian village of Cevo, a massive stone and wood crucifix dedicated to the late pontiff collapsed, instantly crushing a man to death and landing another in the hospital. Reports variously say the collapse took place on Wednesday or Thursday.

File photo of the crucifix in 2008.
Image: Luca Giarelli.

Marco Gusmini, 21, died after part of the wood of the crucifix splintered and broke, sending it, along with the attached statue of Jesus Christ, toppling to the ground. He was reportedly posing for a photograph under the monument.

The mayor of Cevo, Silvio Citroni, termed the incident “an unexplainable tragedy. A young life, so many hopes destroyed this way”. Describing the tragedy, he elaborated, “The young people were making a snack for lunch and when they heard the crunching noises coming from the cross they fled in all directions. Unfortunately Marco ran in the wrong direction.” Citroni also said the crucifix had undergone maintenance work last summer. “This is a place for pilgrimages and family visits. We never imagined that something like this could happen.” In light of the untimely tragedy, he said, plans for any further celebrations to commemorate the late pontiff’s impending canonization have been scrapped.

Sculptor Enrico Job designed the crucifix, which stood 100 ft (30 m) tall; curved unusually to symbolize, reportedly, the scars of World War II; mounted with a 20 ft (6 m) tall statue of Jesus Christ weighing 1,320 lbs (600 kg). Commissioned to commemorate Pope John Paul II’s 1998 visit to Brescia, and reportedly originally erected at a stadium there, the crucifix was moved to its present location in nearby Cevo in 2005.

Gusmini and his parents reportedly lived on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII, a street in Lovere named after another late pontiff to be canonized alongside Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII. In celebration of this double canonization, Rome is expected to play host to 19 heads of state, 24 heads of government, and some 800,000 Catholic pilgrims, visiting from around the world, according to the Interior Ministry of Italy.



Related news

  • Cevo: la «Croce del Papa» ha bisogno di fondiItalian Wikinews, August 29, 2008 (Italian)

Sources

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