May 23, 2021 9:58:56 pm
Italian authorities said 13 people were killed on Sunday when a cable car plunged to the ground near the northern city of Verbania.
Officials said two children had been taken to the hospital where at least one was said to be in a critical condition.
A search operation was extended after what officials said were indications that a 15th person might have been in the vehicle when the accident occurred.
The victims are thought to included foreign nationals. officials said.
The plunge happened near the top of the Stresa-Mottarone line on Sunday morning.
“Serious accident on the Stresa-Mottarone cable car. Alpine rescue, and other rescue teams on site. Two helicopter ambulances intervened,” the national alpine rescue service said on Twitter.
Images show debris from the crushed cabin in a wooded area where a steep slope makes access difficult.
Broken cable theory
The accident happened around 300 meters (985 feet) from the summit. DW correspondent Seema Gupta said it was believed that the accident may have been caused by a broken traction cable.
Alpine rescue service spokesman Walter Milan said the ski lift cables were particularly high off the ground at the location of the accident.
“The cable car fell from a relatively high point and lay down on the ground at the foot of a large forest. Now it appears substantially destroyed on the ground… almost completely crumpled, so the fall was obviously significant,” Milan told the Il Messaggero newspaper.
It’s understood that the cable line was renovated in 2016 and that it had only reopened last month after coronavirus lockdowns.
The 20-minute cable car ride, popular with tourists, links the resort of Stresa with the 1,500-meter (4,900-foot) summit of the Mottarone mountain. The peak overlooks Lake Maggiore and offers spectacular views of the Alps.
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