Photographs of beach-goers sunbathing near dead bodies of two Gypsy girls on a beach near Naples shocked Italy and triggered harsh criticism from Archbishop of the city, Crescenzio Sepe.
Many Italian newspapers published the photos depicting two people relaxing on the beach being only several meters far from two dead bodies covered with beach towels only. Cristina and Violetta, two girls of 11 and 13 years of age, drowned on July 19 when waves carried them away into the sea.
“It is these images which we never wanted to see of our city. We are saddened not only by the two bodies under the beach towels, but by the people who make up the backdrop, people who didn't act and didn't feel remotely concerned. Turning the other way or minding one's own business can, at times, be more devastating than the event itself,” Archbishop Crescenzio Sepe said.
The clergyman believes that the photographs produce a much worse impression of the city in comparison with the recent garbage crisis in Naples.
Rescuers did their best to bring the two girls back to life, but their efforts returned no results. Their lifeless corpses were left on the beach for an hour until a hearse arrived.
Franco Iannuzzi, mayor of nearby Monte di Procida (the place where the incident occurred) assured that the people depicted on the background of the photos had attempted to save the two girls.
The two girls and their two friends came to the beach to beg and sell trinkets. They wanted to swim in the sea and ran into the water, but powerful waves carried them away. Rescuers pulled two girls to safety, but were unable to save two others.
"Their bodies were left on the beach for an hour before being collected, just covered by a beach towel while people just got back to sunbathing and playing football. It was very surreal. There was this picture of a typical Italian beach with families enjoying the sun and then just metres away were the bodies of these two children. People were completely indifferent about what had happened,” a witness told The Daily Mail.
Photo by Lavanguardia
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