14 DIE AS ITALIAN CABLE CAR PLUNGES TO THE GROUND
A cable car taking visitors to a mountaintop view of some of northern Italy’s most picturesque lakes plummeted to the ground Sunday and then tumbled down the slope, killing 14 people.
The lone survivor, a young child, was hospitalized in serious condition with broken bones, authorities said, Nicole Winfield reported for the Associated Press (AP).
Six of the dead were Israeli citizens, including a family of four who lived in Italy, the Israeli foreign ministry said. It wasn’t clear if the other couple was related. The mayor of Stresa, where the incident occurred, said it appeared that a cable broke, sending the car careening until it hit a pylon and then fell to the ground.
At that point, the car overturned “two or three times before hitting some trees,” said Mayor Marcella Severino. Some of those who died were thrown from the cabin. “It was a terrible, terrible scene,” Severino told Italy’s SkyTG24.
The Italian government announced a commission to investigate the disaster, which is likely to renew questions about the quality and safety of Italy’s transport infrastructure. Images from the site showed the crumpled car in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore.
The car was believed to have fallen around 15 meters (50 feet), according to Italian media. The plunge on the Stresa-Mottarone line happened about 100 meters before the final pylon, said Walter Milan, spokesman for Italy’s Alpine rescue service.
By Sunday evening, the death toll had risen to 14 dead after one of two children taken to Turin’s Regina Margherita children’s hospital died.
The child died after several attempts to restart his heart failed and “there was nothing more we could do,” said hospital spokesman Pier Paolo Berra.
The other young child, who arrived at the hospital conscious, remained in serious condition, authorities said.