Cable car above Stresa. Image from wikipedia commons

Judge releases three held over deadly cable car crash

By Region News North-east Italy

An Italian judge ruled on Saturday, the three men detained over a cable car crash that killed 14 people in northern Italy could leave prison. However, one of them will be under house arrest.

In the crash a week ago, a cable car connecting Stresa to a nearby mountain plunged to the ground. All aboard died except for a five-year-old Israeli boy who remains in hospital.

Police arrested the three men on Wednesday after prosecutors in the city of Verbania opened an investigation into suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence.

Judge Donatella Banci Buonamici ruled on Saturday there were no grounds for keeping them in jail.

Allegedly aware of technical issues

Prosecutors allege the men – the owner of the cable-car company, an employee and an engineer who dealt with maintenance – were aware of the cable’s technical problems. The prosecutors said they had deliberately placed fork-shaped clamps on the emergency brakes. This action prevented the brakes from being constantly activated.

“I’m aware of the mistake I made leaving the clamps on,” Gabriele Tadini told prosecutors. This is according to the official transcript of his interview quoted by Sunday’s Corriere della Sera newspaper. Tadini was in charge of starting the cable, as he did on May 23.

Under house arrest

Tadini is under house arrest. Tadini’s lawyer, Marcello Perillo told Reuters news agency, “There is no denying the issue of the clasps, for that he will have to face consequences.” He added the extent to which the others knew of Tadini’s actions was yet to be established.

“There is no proof at present they were also responsible. They are people who should have known, but it’s not clear if they did.”

Verbania Chief Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi told reporters the judge had decided there was no sufficient proof Luigi Nerini, owner of the company operating the lift, and Enrico Perocchio, the engineer who was in charge of maintenance and safety, were aware of the situation.

“In any case the investigation continues, we still don’t know why the cable broke in the first place,” Bossi said.

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