Nine dead after cable auto plunges to ground in northern Italy

Henrietta Brewer
May 25, 2021

A photo of the wreckage taken by Italy's fire service showed the crushed remains of the cable vehicle in a clearing among a thick patch of pine trees near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore.

The toll could rise further from the accident in Stresa, a resort town on the shores of Lake Maggiore in Italy's Piedmont region, the Alpine rescue service said on Twitter. The site says the cable auto is an "integral part" of tourism in the area, which is 75 minutes by vehicle from Milan.

A statement by Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed his "profound grief" and offered his condolences to the victim's families.

People hiking on the mountain heard a loud hiss just before the crash, she said, adding that it was believed to have been caused by one of the cables breaking.

Walter Milan, another spokesman for the national alpine rescue service told RaiNews24 television that two children had been transported by helicopter to a pediatric hospital in the nearby northern city of Turin.

In this handout photo provided by the Italian state police, emergency workers surround the wreckage of a cable vehicle that fell from the Stresa-Alpine-Mottarone line on May 23, 2021 in Stresa, Italy.

Severino told SKY television that some of the victims had been found trapped inside the auto, with others thrown out into the woods.

Luca Cari, a fire brigade spokesman, said it was still not clear how many people were in the cable auto.

According to the newspaper Corriere della Sera, the cable auto system had reopened April 24 after a closure during Italy's coronavirus-related lockdown.

Mottarone reaches a height of 1,491 meters (4,900 feet) and overlooks the picturesque lake and the Alps around the Piedmont region of Italy.

According to an initial investigation, there may have been a broken cable at the top of the system which would have led to the cable auto falling down.

"All of this is hard to believe", she said.

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