Italy cable vehicle accident kills 8

Yolanda Curtis
May 25, 2021

At least 14 people, including five Israelis, died and a child was seriously injured on Sunday when a cable auto linking Italy's Lake Maggiore with a nearby mountain plunged to the ground, officials and rescuers said.

Five Israelis from one family, including a 2-year-old child, were among the 14 people killed Sunday when a cable vehicle plummeted to the ground in Italy's Piedmont region, Israel's Foreign Ministry confirmed Monday morning.

The elder of the two, who was believed to be between 9 and 10, died after suffering two cardiac arrests, the hospital said.

A picture of the wreckage taken by Italy's fire department showed the crushed and crumpled remains of the cable vehicle in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees near the mountain's summit.

"It's a bad moment for me and for our community and I think also for the whole of Italy". Tom died after several attempts to restart his heart failed and "there was nothing more we could do", said hospital spokesman Pier Paolo Berra.

"The provisional toll is eight dead and two injured" who were rushed to a pediatric hospital in the city of Turin, emergency services spokesman Walter Milan told AFP.

Milan noted that the cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns forced the closures of ski lifts across Italy.

"It is a very serious accident", said Mr Milan.

Italy only reopened a few weeks ago, allowing travel between regions after a winter of Covid-19 restrictions.

The Mottarone peak is popular among tourists because of its panoramic views on Lake Maggiore and its picturesque islands as well as the vista of the surrounding Alps.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed their "profound grief", offering condolences to the victims' families, as regional as well as European Union leaders expressed their sorrow and shock.

The trip up the mountain from the base at the lake features a cable auto to get up most of the way and then a chairlift to reach a small amusement park, Alpyland, further up that has a children's rollercoaster offering 360-degree views of the scenery.

The Stresa Mottarone cable auto takes tourists and locals from the town of Stresa, on lake Maggiore, up nearly 1400 metres above sea level to the top of the Mottarone mountain in 20 minutes.

It appeared to be Italy's worst cable vehicle disaster since 1998 when a low-flying United States military jet cut through the cable of a ski lift in Cavalese, in the Dolomites, killing 20 people.

Fire crews, including a helicopter and mountain rescue teams, are on site.

The disaster raised questions anew about the quality and safety of Italy's transport infrastructure.

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