Sunday, October 24, 2021

Italy mountain cable car plunge kills 14

Local reports suggest the cable may have failed about 300m from the top of the mountain.

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A cable car plunged to earth near the top of a mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy on Sunday killing 14 people, including at least one child.

The accident happened on a cable transporting passengers from the tourist resort town of Stresa up the nearby Mottarone mountain, situated between Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta. The mountain top is a big tourist attraction.

The death toll rose steadily on Sunday afternoon as the wreckage was searched.

Five Israeli nationals were among the dead, Israel’s foreign ministry says.

Officials said two survivors, children aged about five and nine, were airlifted to a hospital in Turin but the older child later died. The younger child underwent surgery and is in a critical condition.

“We are devastated,” Marcella Severino, mayor of Stresa, told broadcaster RAI. She said victims had been found both inside and outside the wreckage.

The cause of the incident remains unclear, but local reports suggest the cable may have failed about 300m from the top of the mountain.

The cabin fell about 20m to the ground and rolled over down the slope before being stopped by trees, mayor Severino said.

Nearby hikers heard a loud hiss before the accident, she added.

Walter Milan, an alpine rescue spokesman, told television network RaiNews24 that the cable car was left “crumpled”.

Rescuers faced a crash site on steep and difficult terrain. A fire service vehicle overturned while responding but no-one was injured.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi described the crash as a “tragic accident” and said he was receiving updates from local and national officials.

The cable car originally opened in 1970 and was closed for maintenance between 2014 and 2016.

The journey from the bottom to the top usually takes 20 minutes to transport passengers 1,491m above sea level.

Each cable car can usually hold about 40 passengers. The service had recently reopened following the lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

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