14 people including a child die in cable car accident near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy
14 people including a child died on Sunday, 23 May 2021, when a cable car fell in Italy's alpine region of Piedmont, emergency services have said. Two children were seriously injured and airlifted out to Turin but sadly one died in hospital. The accident took place on the Stresa-Mottarone Cableway, on the banks of Lake Maggiore, some 90 kilometres northwest of Milan. The accident happened on a service transporting passengers from the resort town of Stresa up the nearby Mottarone Mountain in the region of Piedmont. “The cabin fell about 20m to the ground and rolled over down the slope before being stopped by trees”, Marcella Severino, mayor of Stresa, said.
Rescuers faced a crash site on steep and difficult terrain. A fire service vehicle overturned while responding but no-one was injured. Stresa's mayor said victims had been found both inside and outside the wreckage of the cable car.
Five Israeli nationals were among the dead, Israel's foreign ministry says.
Most of the victims died at the crash site, with the death toll steadily rising on Sunday afternoon as the wreckage was searched. 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, who is also an Israeli national, underwent surgery and is in a critical condition.
Italy's ministry of infrastructure said the accident appeared to have been caused by a ruptured cable near the top of the route. The line was renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after COVID restrictions.
The cable car takes about 20 minutes to reach its intended destination, at 1 491 metres, which offers a 360-degree view of the scenery. There is also Alpyland, a 1,2km log bob slide on rails. "Our plan was to go up Mount Mottarone because the view is beautiful from there. We got on the cable car an hour before the tragedy, everything was fine," explained student Luisa Tesserin.
"It's a cableway on which all the maintenance has been done," said local restaurant owner Angelo Garavaglia. "They've spent a lot of money; they've done a lot of work. I think it was an accident because the system is in good order".
Sources: Euro news, BBC