Fate has dealt Stuart Diver, sole survivor of the Thredbo landslide, another cruel blow after his second wife, Rosanna Cossettini, died from breast cancer on the weekend.
Diver spent nearly three days trapped under rubble in freezing conditions in the 1997 ski field tragedy, which claimed 18 lives following a landslide that demolished two ski lodges. Among those who died was the ski instructor’s first wife, Sally. His miraculous rescue, aged 27, and dealing with the aftermath of the disaster were detailed in his biography, Survival.
It recounts the agony of losing Sally, who drowned, as he cradled her head and tried to free her from rubble and rising water.
Diver met Cossettini in 1999 and the pair married in 2002. Three weeks after the wedding, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, but went into remission following treatment. Against the odds, they had a daughter, Alessia, in 2010.
In Survival, Diver recounts how “Rosanna was crucial for me to get back some normalcy in my wife”. He says he initially thought “she was way too good to go out with a rogue like me”, but with her “I found myself loving again”.
In mid 2013, the cancer returned as secondary breast cancer.
Last year Diver, who returned to Thredbo as resort operations manager in 2012, told The Australian that he was “coming at life now with my eyes wide open” as they faced his wife’s illness.
“The stuff that I’ve been through, whether it involved what happened in Thredbo or whether it involves now Rosanna or that moving forward, it certainly is testing my belief structure, testing what I’ve been through previously and what worked and what didn’t work” he said.
The McGrath Foundation, founded after cricketer Glenn McGrath lost his wife Jane to breast cancer, tweeted: “Our thoughts are with Stuart Diver and family and friends of wife Rosanna after her passing.”