- Rizieri Ongaro died on March 8 last year after colliding with Rhys Phillips on the Fertazza track
A British man is on trial for manslaughter after a skiing accident that killed an Italian ex-mayor.
Rhys Phillips, 30, is accused of negligence after he rear-ended 78-year-old Rizieri Ongaro on the Fertazza slope in the Civetta ski resort in the Dolomites on March 8 last year.
The charge against Phillips, from Aldershot, Hampshire, is based on an alleged breach of skiing rules, ‘failing to maintain the necessary distance and moderate speed due to the simultaneous presence of other skiers on the stretch’.
Phillips, a British citizen currently living in Denmark, was visiting the Dolomites with his girlfriend and a group of other Danish skiers for a week-long trek on the slopes when disaster struck.
The young English skier suffered a shoulder contusion in the collision, while Ongaro’s injuries were fatal.
Rizieri Ongaro died on March 8 last year at the age of 78 after a skiing accident on the Fertazza slope in the Civetta ski resort in the Dolomites.
Rhys Phillips, 30, is charged with manslaughter after ‘plowing’ into Ongaro from behind
The Fertazza slope in the Civetta ski resort in the Dolomites (stock photo)
The trial, which started on November 7 at a court in Belluno, will hear all witnesses requested by the parties on May 20 next year.
Among them will also be heard two eyewitnesses who were in a chairlift and saw the accident from above, as well as rescuers who were the first to provide aid.
The medical examiner, Antonello Cirnelli, will also be called into court.
Cirnelli, on behalf of the Belluno Public Prosecutor’s Office, determined that the cause of Ongaro’s death was the collision between the skiers, ruling out the possibility of disease as the cause of death.
Ongaro, that one ‘beastly physique’ which allowed him to carry his skis on his shoulders that day, died of ‘metahemorrhagic shock due to post-traumatic bilateral massive thoracic haemopneuma’.
Phillips is being defended by two lawyers from Milan.
At the next hearing he will be heard in court to give his version of events with the help of an interpreter.