Italian cable car plunges to ground, killing at least 13

Two children seriously injured after it went out of control and hit a pylon

Thirteen people were killed and more were feared dead after a cable car taking visitors to a mountain top in a picturesque part of northern Italy crashed on Sunday.

Two children were taken to hospital in a serious condition after the cabin fell to the ground and then tumbled down a slope, authorities said.

Marcella Severino, Mayor of the resort town of Stresa, said the car went out of control and hit a pylon after a cable apparently broke.

It crashed to the ground and overturned two or three times before hitting some trees, Ms Severino said. Some of those who died were thrown from the cabin.

Images from the site showed the crumpled car in a clearing near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore, one of Italy's most picturesque lakes.

“It was a terrible, terrible scene,” Ms Severino told Italy’s SkyTG24.

She said a third person was also injured.

The plunge on the Stresa-Mottarone line happened about 100 metres before the final pylon, in a spot where the cables were particularly high, said Walter Milan, a spokesman for Italy’s Alpine rescue service.

Mr Milan said the cable line was renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns in Italy curtailed travel.

He said families might have been flocking to the mountain because of sunny weather after months of restrictions.

The line is popular with tourists and locals hoping to scale Mottarone, which reaches 1,491 metres and overlooks the surrounding Alps of Italy’s Piedmont region.

The mountain has a small amusement park, Alpyland, which has a children’s rollercoaster. The area also has mountain bike paths and hiking trails.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his condolences to the families of the victims “with a particular thought about the seriously injured children and their families”.

It was Italy’s worst cable car disaster since 1998, when a low-flying US military jet cut through the cable of a ski lift in Cavalese, in the Dolomites, killing 20 people.

While the cause has not been determined, the latest accident raises more questions about the quality of Italy’s transport.

In 2018, the Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed after years of neglect, killing 43 people.

Updated: May 24, 2021 12:53 AM

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