These are the first images of two tragic couples, among 14 people, who were killed in a horror cable car fall on a mountain in Italy.
Roberta Pistolato, a doctor who works on the front lines of the Italian fight against Covid, died while celebrating her 40th birthday with her 45-year-old boyfriend Angelo Gasparro.
About an hour before the disaster, Ms. Pistolato sent her sister a frightening final text message with the words: “We’re getting on the cable car.”
The engaged couple Silvia Malnati 27 and Alessandro Merlo 29 were also killed.
A family originally from Israel and living in Italy lost five members in the tragedy on Sunday, including a two-year-old boy and an 81-year-old grandmother, when the car fell 65 feet.
A nine-year-old boy died after being flown to a hospital in Turin while the only survivor – a five-year-old boy – was in severe condition with injuries to his head, chest and legs.
The cable car was approaching a station on the 400-meter-high Mottarone Mountain when it fell, rolled down the steep terrain and crashed into trees.
The victims made the 20-minute journey from the town of Stresa to the summit for breathtaking views of Lake Maggiore.
Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino said the accident was believed to have been caused by a broken cable, although the cause is still being investigated.
Ms. Pistolato and Mr. Gasparro, who lived in Castel San Giovanni, decided to go up the mountain to celebrate their 40th birthday. la Repubblica reported.
About an hour before the tragedy, she wrote to her sister, “We’re getting on the cable car,” the report added.
Ms. Pistolato worked in coronavirus vaccination centers and visited patients in their homes during the pandemic, her bosses said.
Mr. Merlo and Ms. Malnati came from the northern city of Varese, where the neighbors reported their shock and devastation.
Rosa Tagliani said Ms. Malnati was “always happy” and smiled.
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The neighbor added, “I saw her three days ago and she said to me, ‘Hi Rosa, how are you?”
An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the tragedy.
Ms. Severino, the mayor of Stresa, told RAI that hikers heard a loud hissing sound shortly after noon before the crash.
Some of the victims were found trapped in the car and others thrown into the woods, she added.
The mayor said: “We are devastated and in pain.
“It is a terrible moment for me and our community, and I think for all of Italy too.
“Especially now that we’ve just restarted (after the pandemic).”
“All of this is hard to believe,” she added.
The cable car had only restarted a month ago after the Covid lockdown.
Officials said the cable car system, which first opened in August 1970, has been checked regularly, with the last being last November.