Italy cable vehicle crash probed as child fights for life

Tanya Simon
May 25, 2021

A cable auto carrying passengers to the top of Mottarone Mountain in Northern Italy crashed Sunday, killing 14 people and leaving a surviving child with broken bones.

The death toll from the Mottarone cable vehicle accident in Italy's northern region of Piedmont on Sunday has risen to 12, said local rescue services.

Thirteen people died at the scene including a two year old child.

Italian Fire and Rescue Service shows Rescuers at work at the area of the cable auto accident, near Lake Maggiore, northern Italy on 23 May 2021.

The 20-minute cable auto ride, popular with tourists, links Stresa with the 1,500-metre (4,900-foot) summit of the Mottarone mountain, and offers spectacular views of the Alps.

Eleven people were inside the cable vehicle when it fell.

This is a developing story.

At that location, the cables of the ski lift were particularly high off the ground, said Walter Milan, spokesman for the Alpine rescue service.

The dual cable system is split into two sections, just over two kilometres between Stresa and Alpino and another three kilometres between Alpino and Mottarone.

In on-camera comments to LaPresse news agency and other reporters in her office, Bossi noted that the emergency brake had engaged on the other cable auto that was traveling in the opposite direction, down the mountain.

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Five Israeli nationals were among the dead, Israel's foreign ministry says. Some passengers were stuck inside the cabin while others were thrown out during the crash.

"They heard a loud bang and saw the cable vehicle just before the summit and then it accelerated backwards, struck a support pillar and fell".

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his condolences to the victims "with a particular thought about the seriously injured children and their families".

The youngest child, estimated to be five years old, was conscious upon his arrival at the hospital and spoke Italian.

Europe has seen a number of similar cable auto accidents over the past 50 years.

Mottarone reaches a height of 4,900 feet and overlooks a picturesque lake.

The Stresa-Mottarone lift had only recently re-opened following the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

The mountain features a small amusement park, Alpyland, that has a children's rollercoaster offering 360-degree views of the scenery. She acknowledged the transport crime was an unusual hypothesis, but justified it by recalling that a cable vehicle up and down a mountain is a form of public transportation.

Transport Minister Enrico Giovannini visited the site Monday and announced a commission of inquiry to investigate the "technical and organizational causes" of the accident, while prosecutors will focus on any criminal blame.

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