Sadness overwhelmed the climbing community on July 8 when Tito Traversa passed away, three days after falling 25m to the ground; he was not wearing a helmet. He climbed his first 5.14 at age 10 and climbed his fourth 5.14, two days before his accident.
It seems that human error is the cause of the accident. Of the 12 quickdraws Tito had clipped, eight were incorrectly installed. The plastic keeper on the dog-bone that prevents the carabiner from moving was mounted wrong. The four quickdraws that were mounted properly were to low to prevent a groundfall.
Here are quotes from Tito’s father, John Cross, who recently released a statement to Italy’s La Stampa.
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“I miss Tito as the air we breathe, this should not have happened.
“It was a fatal blow to the head, if he had more protection maybe we would not be here today to mourn him. After what happened, institutions should make helmets mandatory, at least for minors. Much like they have for the kids who practice skiing and snowboarding.
“Tito was a golden boy and had a strong physique. The doctors explained to us that his heart has allowed a French child to live.”
Investigations into the accident are ongoing, but climbers must remain vigilant about safety and equipment. Redundancy is key! Check, check and check again to be sure everything is in working order and assembled right.