Italian intelligence agents among dead in tourist boat accident

Two Italian intelligence agents and a former member of the Israeli security forces died when a boat carrying tourists overturned in strong winds on Lake Maggiore in Italy, officials said Monday.

A Russian woman was also reportedly killed when the boat capsized Sunday evening near Lisanza at the southern end of the lake in northern Italy, after the weather suddenly turned stormy.

"The bodies of four people have been recovered," fire brigade spokesman Luca Cari told AFP on Monday.

Israel's foreign ministry said one of the dead was a former member of the country's security forces in his fifties.

Two others were Italian, a 62-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman who both worked in the intelligence services, Italy's security services said.

"The two employees, belonging to the intelligence department, were taking part in a convivial meeting organised to celebrate the birthday of one of the group," it said.

Media reports said the fourth victim was a 50-year-old Russian woman, the partner of the boat's captain.

The president of the Lombardy region, Attilio Fontana, said Sunday that a "whirlwind" had caused the 16-metre (52-foot) boat to overturn.

Firefighters on Sunday said 19 people had survived the accident, with media reports suggesting some had been picked up by passing boats while others swam to shore.

The boat had been carrying both Italian and foreign tourists, and it sank quickly, taking one of the victims with it, according to reports.

A firefighters' video showed a search and rescue helicopter flying over choppy waters, where chairs and other debris could be seen floating.

Lake Maggiore, a popular tourist destination on the south side of the Alps, is the second-largest lake in Italy.

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