At least eight dead in Italian cable vehicle accident

  • At least eight dead in Italian cable vehicle accident

At least eight dead in Italian cable vehicle accident

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.

At least eight people have died and two are seriously injured after a cable auto connecting Italy's Maggiore lake with a mountain close by plunged on Sunday, the national alpine rescue service said.

A second boy, whose age was not known, was in critical condition, Berra said, adding that he was not conscious on arrival.

Sunday's tragedy appeared to be Italy's worst cable auto disaster since 1998 when a low-flying USA military jet cut through the cable of a ski lift in Cavalese, in the Dolomites, killing 20 people.

Images from the site showed the crumpled auto in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore.

Director General Giovanni La Valle said the hospital did not have personal data for the two children and that nobody had been in contact with the hospital for them, indicating that other family members could have been involved in the accident.

Milan noted that the cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns in Italy curtailed travel and forced the suspension of many leisure activities.

Sunday was a lovely, sunny day in the area, and Mr Milan said that many families were taking advantage of the weather to enjoy a day out after months of lockdown.

The accident happened as the cable auto was traveling up the mountain, with the cabin dropping some 20 meters (66 feet) and rolling several times down the steep slopes before it was stopped by trees, Severino said.

The site offers mountain bike paths and hiking trails, as is common for many Italian mountain areas that are popular with tourists and locals in spring and summer.

The 20-minute cable vehicle 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.

The line reaches a height of 4,900 feet, the AP said.

"We are devastated, in pain", Marcella Severino, Stresa's mayor told national broadcaster RAI, while Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi voiced his condolences to the families of the victims, "with a special thought" for the injured children.

It is the latest incident to raise questions about the quality of Italy's transport infrastructure.

President Sergio Mattarella, in offering his condolences, called for the "rigorous respect of all security norms" in transportation.