Three people arrested over cable car disaster that killed 14 including two kids

Three people were reportedly arrested in connection with a cable car disaster in northern Italy that killed 14 people, including two children.

A five-year-old boy, Eitan Biran, was the only survivor when the gondola fell from the town of Stresa on the shores of Lake Maggiore to nearby Mottarone Mountain.

Eitan’s father, mother, two-year-old brother, and great-grandparents were among the dead, along with a nine-year-old child and their family, an engaged couple, and others.

Investigators had announced that their first investigation into the tragedy would investigate how the cable broke and why a safety brake mechanism could not be activated on Sunday afternoon.

Italian prosecutors opened an investigation into alleged involuntary manslaughter and negligence.

Initial reports said the cable pulling the cabin up the slope broke as the gondola neared the end of its 20-minute ride to the top of the mountain.

The braking mechanism on a second wire that carried the weight of the cabin failed to lock, and the nacelle slid backwards before apparently hitting a pylon and falling to the ground, where it rolled over before hitting trees.

An aerial view of the scene where a cable car crashed near Stresa, Italy

Most of the victims died on the scene, bodies were found in the rubble and some were thrown into the forest.

Eitan suffered several broken bones and was flown to a hospital in Turin, where he was in critical condition following an operation.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini visited the area on Monday and said the government would also set up a commission to investigate Italy’s worst cable car disaster since 1998, when 20 people died after a low-flying US fighter plane accidentally cut a load-bearing cable .

“The government and all institutions are naturally keen to understand the causes and to understand what happened,” Giovannini told reporters.

The cable car was extensively maintained between 2014 and 2016.

The controls were carried out by specialized technicians in 2017 and again last year. Italian media reported that the wires should not be replaced until 2029.

The cabin could accommodate up to 40 people, but was less than half full due to restrictions to prevent Covid-19 infections.

The lift station was closed for most of the winter due to the coronavirus and reopened last month.

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