cable car crash

Cable car crash: Profit before safety

By Region News North-west Italy

Prosecutors say three men arrested over fatal cable car crash in Piedmont knew there were technical issues with the cabins. They kept them running for financial reasons.

Fourteen people died, including two children, when the lead cable of the way connecting the lakeside town of Stresa with the nearby Mottarone mountain snapped. Only a five-year old boy survived.

Knew there were issues

The owner of the cable-car company and two employees were aware the system was not working properly. They deliberately placed fork-shaped clamps on the emergency brakes to prevent them from constantly kicking in, prosecutors said.

“The charges are extremely serious due to the deliberate intention to circumvent the security system for reasons of profit, totally disregarding basic safety rules,” said the detention order drawn up by the prosecutors, Reuters news agency reported.

The prosecutors wrote one of the three men admitted to disabling the brakes in agreement with the other two suspects to prevent having to shut down the popular lift.

“They have chosen to endanger the lives of other people for their own profit,” chief prosecutor Olimpia Bossi said in an interview with La Stampa newspaper.

Bossi also said investigators still did not know why the lead cable had snapped.

Out of action for most of the year

The cable car had been closed for most of the year due to covid restrictions. The service only resumed last month. However, the prosecutors believe the technical problems surfaced almost immediately.

Funerals of some of the victims took place in both Italy and Israel on Thursday. The bodies of the five Israeli victims – a young couple, their child and their grandparents – were sent to Israel on Wednesday.

The eldest child of the couple is the only survivor of the cable car crash. He remains in in hospital where doctors say he is responding to treatment.

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