Sib­lings’ trip of a life­time shat­tered by fa­tal crash

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - VIC­TO­RIA NU­GENT

IT WAS meant to be the trip of a life­time for Ital­ian sis­ters Glo­ria and Gior­gia Rastel­letti.

But just a few weeks af­ter com­ing to North Queens­land to pick fruit, Glo­ria, 29 ( pic­tured above, right), is dead and her sis­ter is re­cov­er­ing in hos­pi­tal af­ter last Fri­day’s hor­ror rollover on the Bruce High­way.

The eldest of the sis­ters was one of three Ital­ian back­pack­ers killed in the sin­gle ve­hi­cle crash, while Gior­gia, 26, ( above left) re­mains in Townsville Hos­pi­tal wait­ing for her par­ents to ar­rive and take her home.

The Bul­letin un­der­stands the sis­ters had been in Home Hill for just weeks be­fore the ac­ci­dent, pick­ing fruit as part of their work­ing hol­i­day.

The pair had pre­vi­ously worked in Syd­ney.

Glo­ria and two other pas­sen­gers, Marco Pel­le­grini, 28, and Giuseppe Di Marco, 23, died on the scene while Gior­gia and driver Christo­pher Rosi, 25, were rushed to Townsville Hos­pi­tal.

Mr Rosi ( be­low right), who left hos­pi­tal at the week­end, has been charged with care­less driv­ing and faces Ayr Mag­is­trates Court on Au­gust 12.

It is un­der­stood the sis­ters, who came from the Pe­saro re­gion of Italy, met the other pas­sen­gers at Home Hill Back­pack­ers.

The sis­ters’ un­cle and a for­mer city coun­cil­lor, Mirko Bal­lerini, told Ital­ian news­pa­per Il Resto del Car­lino the girls’ par­ents, Milena Bal­lerini and Ste­fano Rastel­letti, flew out of Italy on Sun­day.

He de­scribed Gior­gia as be­ing “shocked and se­dated”, hav­ing suf­fered mul­ti­ple bro­ken bones, in­clud­ing a bro­ken col­lar­bone.

Mr Bal­lerini told the pa­per plans to take Glo­ria’s re­mains home would take at least a fort­night be­cause of the need for an au­topsy.

Mean­while, Mr Pel­le­grini’s Face­book page has been flooded with tributes, de­scrib­ing him as a “pur­suer of ad­ven­tures”, “the kind­est, fun­ni­est most com­pas­sion­ate man I’ve ever met” and “the real North Queens­lan­der among us, a part of Home Hill”.

Mr Pel­le­grini, from Italy’s Como re­gion, had been in Aus­tralia since Au­gust 2013.

The Depart­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade has been li­ais­ing with the Ital­ian Gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing the crash, with all fam­i­lies of the pas­sen­gers no­ti­fied by the Ital­ian con­sulate in Bris­bane.

Po­lice said the sta­tion wagon the five were in left the road and rolled af­ter hit­ting a con­crete bar­rier.

Min­is­ter As­sist­ing the Premier on North Queens­land, Co­ralee O’Rourke, said she urged any­one with in­for- ma­tion to con­tact Crime Stop­pers or the Townsville Foren­sic Crash Unit.

“This is a tragedy that has reached the en­tire com­mu­nity and my thoughts go out to the fam­ily and friends of those who lost their lives,” she said.

Bur­dekin Mayor Bill Lowis said con­fu­sion and shock still sur­rounded the cir­cum­stances of the crash.

“A lot of peo­ple are re­ally numb,” he said. “It’s dev­as­tat­ing just to know lives are lost.”

FROM TOP: Sis­ters Glo­ria and Gior­gia Rastel­letti;R the Bul­letin’s cov­er­age on Satur­day ( above left); and back­pack­ers hang a trib­ute over a bal­cony at a hos­tel in Home Hill ( right).

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