Mottarone first annivesary service

Mottarone relatives feel “abandoned” on first anniversary of the cable-car disaster

By Region News North-west Italy

Today is the first anniversary of the Mottarone tragedy. Investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but one of the victims’ relatives says they feel “abandoned”. The only survivor of the disaster is part of a bitter custody battle.

One of the relatives of the victims of the Mottarone mountain cable-car disaster in Piedmont said they feel abandoned, ANSA reported. Today is the first anniversary of the accident that claimed 14 lives.

“A year has passed and we haven’t heard from anyone,” said Teresa, the mother and grandmother of two of the victims, Elisabetta Personini and five-year-old Mattia Zorloni. They died alongside the boy’s father, Vittorio Zorloni.

“They have abandoned us all”.

At the service Fr Gianluca Villa said: “Today we reopen a drawer of pain, of wounds that will never heal and also of so much anger, which is human”. He recalled that Sunday a year ago was “a Sunday marked by innocent blood, in which the sun was obscured by darkness “.

Investigation on-going

Three people are under investigation in relation to the Mottarone disaster. They are the owner of the company that ran the cable car, the company’s director and the service’s operational chief.

Prosecutors in Verbania said the cable car’s emergency braking system, which should have prevented the disaster after one of the cables snapped, was deactivated deliberately “for economic reasons in total disregard for the most basic safety rules”.

The company allegedly deactivated the emergency braking system to stop it halting the service after a series of technical problems.

“Our aim has always been to give a response to the demand for justice,” said Verbania Chief Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi.

“Today is the day of silence. It is the day of the families who came up here with great strength and courage to remember their lost loved ones”.

Custody battle over Eitan Biran

The only survivor is Eitan Biran, a six-year-old Israeli boy who lived in Italy. He lost his parents, two-year-old brother and two great grandparents in the disaster. He is also at the centre of a bitter custody battle.

The Italian authorities put the boy into the care of his paternal Italy-based aunt, Aya Biran. But the maternal side the family are challenging this decision. Indeed, the maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, abducted the boy and took him with him to Israel last year. An Israeli court then ordered the boy’s return to Italy, which took place in December.

On Monday, the maternal side of the family said they would continue to fight to bring the boy up in Israel.

 Italy is requesting the extradition of Shmuel Peleg and his male accomplice in taking Eitan out of the country. However, Israel has a policy of not extraditing its own citizens.

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