On August 30, 2023, 34-year-old Mikael Zanera , whose maintenance crew was working on the Turin-Milan railway lines, was welding when he suddenly saw a red glowing cross in the rail.
There was actually no miracle here, just a part of the rail melted by welding highlighted the cruciform damage on the metal. However, for Mikael, who was a very devout Catholic, it was like a sign.
He filmed the cross on video and posted on TikTok: “God definitely wants to tell me something. This is the first time this has happened to me while welding a rail,” he wrote in a message to the video.
On the night of August 31, Mikael and his colleagues were again working on the Milan-Turin line and, due to some fatal mistake, they were hit by a train traveling at a speed of more than 160 km per hour.
Five workers, including Mikael, died immediately, and two more were injured. The men’s bodies were reported to have been hit by a train on impact and were dragged for a long time before the train finally came to a halt.
An emergency responder described that human remains were scattered over a length of 300 meters.
“This is a huge tragedy. It cannot be ruled out that a communication error could have occurred,” he said.
It is still unclear how the hit took place. The train driver himself was in deep shock after the incident, he did not know that people would be on the rails.
RFI, the operator of Italy’s railway network, expressed “deep sorrow” and condolences to the families of the victims and indicated that the investigation is ongoing.