Four young Italians have drowned in their car after it careered into an icy river in thick fog.
The victims were found in the Trebbia River in the comune of Calendasco in the Italian province of Piacenza. The accident is believed to have occurred on the night of 11th January, although this date has not been officially confirmed.
The victims have been identified as three men, named Domenico Di Canio, 22, William Pagani, 23, Costantino Merli, 22, and his girlfriend Elisa Bricchi, 20.
A man who was walking his dog in the area saw the car, a grey Volkswagen Golf, semi-submerged in the river. He alerted the police, who arrived quickly on the scene.
A preliminary investigation found that the four victims had been celebrating William’s birthday in a nightclub in the nearby town of San Nicolo.
The victims’ families raised the alarm when they failed to return home and did not answer their phones.
The police said it is possible the driver did not know how close they were driving to the river, as the conditions were poor, with ice on the road and thick fog obscuring their vision.
A firefighting team reportedly spent four hours removing the vehicle from the river, and the four victims were found dead inside.
Calendasco mayor Filippo Zangrandi said: “This is the biggest tragedy that has occurred in our area. There are no words. We can only send condolences to the family. We will announce a mourning period in the city on the day of the funeral.”
The investigation is ongoing.