Gianni Rizzo, lightning kills sport fishing champion at Lake Bolsena


The friend tried to keep his face out of the water, but the lightning had already killed him. This is how Gianni Rizzo, Paduan resident of Rovigo, sport fishing champion, died behind numerous successes in national and international competitions. Thunderstruck by lightning at 36 years old, holding the fishing rod to the last.

He arrived on Monday in Bolsena, famous for its lake which touches eight towns in the Viterbo area; in the afternoon, immediately by boat. One of Gianni’s many trips to fish and document: there was photographic equipment on the motorboat on which the champion of bass fishing he was with a friend yesterday, a 39-year-old from Frosinone. Bad weather surprised them around 4.30 pm, without giving them time to go back. From Bolsena, by boat, they had arrived in Gradoli, another small center overlooking the lake, about ten kilometers away: a quarter of an hour of thunder on the body of water and the lightning that struck Gianni suddenly, causing him to end up in the the needle.

“His friend dived to help him: I found them both in the water, he who was trying to keep his face out” is the scene that Mauro Dottarelli, restaurateur and fisherman for sixty years, cannot forget. It was he who rescued the two friends. “I haven’t slept a wink, I see them constantly in front of me – he says -. My wife and I were called by the owner of a campsite near ours. He heard a faint voice calling for help, but he didn’t understand where it came from. ” Dottarelli immediately took the boat with a friend and went in search. Gianni and his fishing partner were two kilometers away. The 36-year-old’s shirt burned by lightning. He dragged them to the shore, they were three hundred meters from the shore. “The other was incredulous with him – he says -. It kept him afloat thinking to save him … he remembered nothing of the few moments before. They had been in the water for half an hour. “

Immediately after, the stretch of beach was filled with carabinieri, firefighters, 118 staff. The 39 year old was taken to the Belcolle hospital in Viterbo in a state of shock and with a principle of hypothermia. For Gianni Rizzo, however, there was nothing more to do. The body was returned to the family for the funeral: no doubt, at the moment, that lightning was the cause of death. The fishing world is mourning for him, together with his whole family: he leaves a young wife. Rizzo had managed to turn his passion into a profession: entrepreneur, worked for the T3 Distribution company, which imports fishing equipment. Numerous specialties he had practiced in life: the powerfishing, he wrote about himself in the company’s blog, was his favorite. Agonist since 2001, he had started very young to participate in national and international competitions obtaining excellent placings. He called himself “a young old man of Italian bassfishing”, a sport fishing technique that is practiced using only artificial bait.

«I think the most important catch for a fisherman is next» He wrote. He was also known in Bolsena and surroundings: he often came to fish here. His Facebook wall was filled with black ribbons, as a sign of mourning, and memories of the friends who mourn him. “A point of reference for many, a golden person, an ever-present friend”. “Those who haven’t known you personally don’t know what they’ve missed,” they write. Someone reports his philosophy and that of many with his own passion: “Having a fishing rod in your hand is only an excuse to explore the depth of the sea and reveal mysteries that previously existed only in dreams”.

June 9, 2020 | 12:29


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