Siblings’ trip of a lifetime shattered by fatal crash
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).