A young Italian couple who drowned in an icy river along with two friends had planned to start a family and had even bought rings for each other the week before.
The four young Italians drowned in their car after careering into the icy Trebbia River in the comune of Calendasco in the Italian province of Piacenza in thick fog on the night of 10th January.
The victims have been identified as Costantino Merli, 22, his girlfriend Elisa Bricchi, 20, and their friends William Pagani, 23, and Domenico Di Canio, 22.
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 was 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.”
According to updates on 13th January, Costantino and Elisa, who had been together for over a year, planned to start a family and even bought rings in the days leading up to their untimely deaths.
Elisa’s mother Antonella told the newspaper Corriere della Sera: “Costantino and Elisa dreamed of being together. In recent days, they bought each other rings. If Elisa had found a job, she would have fulfilled her dream of being a couple.
“She dreamed of buying a home and starting a family.”
After hearing the tragic news, she said: “When my husband and I woke up, Elisa’s bed was still made… She hadn’t sent us a message, which is not like her.
“It was the fault of that damned fog. At night along the embankment, it becomes like a wall.
“At home, it is impossible not to think about her. We see her everywhere, everything reminds us of her.”