Consolidated Press News File

May 23, 2021

ROME – An Italian cable car carrying tourists to a mountaintop view of crashed to the ground on Sunday, killing 14 passengers.  Authorities said a small boy was admitted in critical condition with fractured bones.

According to Mayor Marcella Severino of Stresa, a cable appeared to have broken, sending the vehicle careening until it collided with a pylon and then crashed to the ground.  The car overturned “two or three times before hitting some trees” at that moment, she said

The Italian government has established a commission to investigate the tragedy, which is expected to raise additional concerns about the quality and safety of the country’s transportation system.

The crumpled car was discovered near the summit of the Mottarone Range, which overlooks Lake Maggiore, in a clearing surrounded by a thicket of pine trees.  According to Italian newspapers, the car was reported to have dropped 50 feet.

The death toll had risen to 14 by Sunday evening after one of two children admitted to Turin’s Regina Margherita children’s hospital died.

“There was nothing more we could do,” hospital spokesman Pier Paolo Berra said after several efforts to restart the child’s heart failed.  Authorities say the other young boy, who arrived at the hospital awake, is also in critical condition.

The cable line was renovated in 2016 and just recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns in Italy limited travel and prompted the suspension of several leisure activities, according to Milan.  After months of prohibitions, many families flocked to the mountain on a sunny Sunday.

Tourists and locals alike flock to the line to climb Mottarone, which rises to 4,900 feet and offers views of many picturesque lakes and the surrounding Alps of Italy’s Piedmont region.  The mountain is home to Alpyland, a small theme park with a children’s rollercoaster, as well as mountain bike lanes and hiking trails.

Sunday’s accident threatens to be Italy’s worst cable car incident since a low-flying US military jet killed 20 people in Cavalese, in the Dolomites, in 1998 when a low-flying US military jet broke through the cable of a ski lift.

Enrico Giovannini, Italy’s transport minister, announced the formation of a commission to investigate the accident, saying he had already sought information on previous repairs and inspections on the railway.  He intended to go to the site on Monday.