Two Italian brothers suffered fatal heart attacks on the same day, while a third was left fighting for his life. The bizarre incident happened as Guido Garofalo, 45 and his older brother Alberto, 53, were on a picnic with their wives and children. First to have a heart attack was Guido who collapsed to the ground in front of the horrified group and as his brother tried to save him, he too grabbed at his chest.
Paramedics were immediately called to the scene at Pianeta di Nicolosi on the slopes of Mt Etna near Catania on the island of Sicily but both were declared dead by the helicopter crew that had arrived to help. The terrible coincidence then continued as it emerged at the same time a third brother, Salvatore, whose age is not known, suffered a heart attack as he visited their mother in hospital. Doctors and nurses rushed to help him and he is now recovering in the intensive care unit with staff saying the fact he was in hospital when he had the attack had "probably saved his life." He has not been informed of his brothers' death and a sister who lives in Rome and who is known to suffer from a heart condition has also not been told.
Dr Thekia Maurhoff, of the Garibaldi hospital in Catania, said: "All three cases are being investigated – it is quite unique and I have never heard of anything similar like this happening three heart attacks in three brothers all at the same time. From initial checks it would appear that all three brothers suffered from a heart condition and this lead to them all suffering attacks, virtually at the same time and in two cases they proved to be fatal.
"Salvatore is currently in a stable condition in the intensive care unit of the hospital and his condition is being closely monitored but the fact he was in hospital at the time certainly helped save his life." Professor Filippo Crea, an expert at the cardiology unit of Rome's Cattolica University, said: "Genetic factors almost certainly played a part in this tragic event as heart attacks in those aged under 60 are usually caused for those reasons."