Italy: Around 13 killed after cable car plunges to ground
A Stresa-Mottarone cable car taking visitors to a mountaintop view of Northern Italy's most picturesque lakes plummeted to the ground on Sunday, killing at least 13 people and sending two children to the hospital. Images from the site showed the crumpled car in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore.
It was a terrible scene: Stresa Mayor
Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino said, "A cable broke, sending the car careening until it hit a pilon and then fell to the ground. At that point, the car overturned two or three times before hitting some trees." Some of those who died were thrown from the cabin. "It was a terrible scene. Besides the two children, a third person was injured," Severino added.
The Stresa-Mottarone line had just reopened after renovation
The plunge on the Stresa-Mottarone line happened about 100 meters before the final pilon, in a spot where the cables were particularly high off the ground, said Walter Milan, spokesman for Italy's Alpine rescue service. Milan noted that the cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdown forced the suspension of many leisure activities in Italy.
Mottarone mountain has an amusement park
The Stresa-Mottarone line is popular with tourists and locals alike to scale Mottarone, which reaches a height of 1,491 meters (4,900 feet) and overlooks several picturesque lakes and the surrounding Alps of Italy's Piedmont region. The mountain hosts a small amusement park, Alpyland, that has a children's rollercoaster. The area also has mountain bike paths and hiking trails.
Italy's worst cable car disaster since 1998
Mario Draghi, the Prime Minister of Italy, offered his condolences to the families of the victims. Italy's Transport Minister, Enrico Giovannini, was following the rescue effort, which involved deploying three helicopters. This appears to be 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.