Pierlucio Tinazzi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Pierlucio Tinazzi
Born(1962-12-27)December 27, 1962
DiedMarch 24, 1999(1999-03-24) (aged 36)
OccupationSecurity guard
Known forDying while trying to rescue survivors of the 1999 Mont Blanc tunnel fire

Pierlucio Tinazzi (Italian pronunciation: [pjɛːrˈluːtʃo tinaddzi]; 27 December 1962 – 24 March 1999) was an Italian security guard who died while trying to rescue victims of the 1999 Mont Blanc tunnel fire. Tinazzi was on the French side of the tunnel, from where he donned breathing equipment and drove into the tunnel on his BMW K75 motorcycle in an attempt to save people trapped in the tunnel; after finding unconscious truck driver Maurice Lebras, who was too heavy to be loaded on his motorcycle, he dragged him to a refuge station in the tunnel, where both were killed by smoke or flames.[1] Tinazzi was in radio contact with the Italian side for over an hour before succumbing to the intense heat, which caused his motorcycle to melt into the pavement.

Having died trying to save another man, Tinazzi was lauded as a hero, buried with honors, and posthumously awarded Italy's Medaglia d'Oro al Valore Civile.[2] He was also given a special gold medal by the motorcycle sport governing body Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).[1] A commemorative plaque at the Italian entrance honours his sacrifice.[3]

For several years, Tinazzi was also wrongly credited by newspapers with saving between ten and twelve people by ferrying them to safety on his motorcycle before dying in the fire.[1] However, in 2019, a writer researching the story found the full description of the events in French police reports; a motorcycle security guard, Patrick Devouassoux, who survived the fire, did indeed save several people with his motorcycle, and Tinazzi's and Devouassoux's actions were apparently intermingled in subsequent press accounts.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Gardiner, Mark (March 21, 2019). "I wrote a story that became a legend. Then I discovered it wasn't true". Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved 2019-04-01.
  2. ^ Medaglia d'Oro al Valore Civile
  3. ^ "Pierlucio Tinazzi". Find a Grave. Retrieved 8 January 2010.