Italian scientists on shaky ground

Italian seismologists are accused of manslaughter after failing to predict an earthquake that killed 309 people near the Italian city of L'Aquila.

Jun 3, 2011
Cristina Luiggi

Building destroyed by 2009 L'Aquila earthquakeDOWNING STREET / FLICKR

Six Italian seismologists and a government official will be tried for manslaughter after participating in a committee that announced that an increased seismic activity in the Italian city of L'Aquila posed no risk to the local population just one week before an earthquake struck and killed 309 people two years ago. They are accused of misinforming and falsely assuring the public, which resulted in people not taking proper precautions for the disaster, Nature reports. In their defense, the scientists claim it was not their responsibility to inform the public and therefore they cannot be held responsible for what public officials said.