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Swiss national football player likely died from asphyxia

Florijana Ismaili (number 17) and teammates celebrate a goal in 2017 Keystone

Florijana Ismaili, a midfielder for the Swiss women’s football team who went missing after jumping into Lake Como, most likely died from asphyxia, first autopsy results say.

This content was published on July 5, 2019 - 18:00

Italian authorities in Como concluded that the Swiss died from “an acute episode of asphyxia” probably brought on by congestion, agencies and newspapers have reported. Food was found in the player's stomach which may have influenced what happened, newspaper 20 Minuti reported, quoting the Como prosecutor. The final results, however, are still pending.

Ismaili was found three days after she went missing on June 30. She did not resurface after jumping from a boat into Lake Como in Italy. 

After an extensive search operation, rescue services recovered her body this Tuesday after a diving robot had found it at a depth of 204 metres (669 feet), according to Italian news agency Ansa. 

On Saturday Ismaili, 24, and a friend had hired a boat near the Italian town of Musso on Lake Como, some 20 kilometres from the Swiss border. Ismaeli jumped into the water around 100 metres from shore but did not reappear. Her friend raised the alarm immediately. 

Ismaili, born in Bern with Albanian roots, had played since 2011 for Bernese team Young Boys, whose male team are the Swiss champions. In 2014 she made her debut for the national side, playing 33 matches and scoring three goals.


"We are dismayed, shocked and very, very much in pain," the Swiss football association body said in a statement after Ismaili was found on Tuesday, and offered its "sincere condolences" to Ismaili's family and friends.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who is Swiss-Italian, also reacted on Tuesday, calling Ismaili's death as "an extremely sad moment for all the football community, particularly at a time when we gather at the FIFA Women's World Cup".

"Both on mine and FIFA's behalf, I would like to express the most heartfelt condolences to Florijana's family and friends, to the Swiss federation and to BSC Young Boys," Infantino said.

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