At least 14 people are dead and a child has been seriously injured after a cable car plunged to the ground in Northern Italy.
The Stresa-Mottarone cable car carries locals and tourists from Stresa on Lake Maggiore to the top of the Mattarone mountain, and is popular for its panoramic views of the lake.
Stresa’s mayor, Marcella Severino, told local media the cable car was travelling up the mountain when the cable snapped, dropping the cabin 20 metres to the ground, where it rolled down a steep slope before being stopped by trees, according to Reuters.
Severino said nearby hikers heard a loud hiss just before the crash and that victims had been found trapped inside the car as well as thrown into the surrounding woods.
“We are devastated, in pain,” she said.
“It’s a terrible moment for me and for our community, and I think also for the whole of Italy. Especially now that we were just beginning to restart (after the pandemic).”
Severino said the victims included foreign nationals, but did not provide further details.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has confirmed that six Israeli nationals were among the dead, including an Italian-based family of four.
Travel Weekly has contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs to find out if any Australians were involved in the crash, but is yet to receive a response.
Local rescue services told Reuters they found the cable car lying “crumpled” in the woods and two children were transported to hospital via helicopter.
One of the children has since died and the other was undergoing surgery for multiple fractures, the hospital told Reuters, adding that nobody had contacted the hospital about the children, meaning other family members were likely involved in the accident.
Walter Milan, a spokesman for the Alpine rescue service, told ABC News the cables were particularly high off the ground in the area where the accident happened and that the cause has not yet been determined.
Milan said the cable line had been “renovated” in 2016.
The cable car travels almost 1,400 metres above sea level to the top of the mountain in 20 minutes, and is popular among tourists for its awe-inspiring views of Lake Maggiore and its islands as well as the surrounding alps.
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