An investigation into the cable car crash that left 14 people dead in Italy will focus on why a cable broke and the emergency brakes did not work, a prosecutor said Monday.
“The brakes of the security system didn’t work. Otherwise, the cabin would have stopped,” Olimpia Bossi, the lead prosecutor in Verbania, told reporters Monday. “Why that happened is naturally under investigation.”
Fourteen people, including two children under the age of 10, were killed when the Stresa-Mottarone cable car, which travels between the resort town of Stresa to the top of Mottarone mountain in Italy’s Piedmont region, crashed to the ground Sunday.
A 2-year-old child died instantly, and a 9-year-old died in the hospital after suffering two cardiac arrests.
Another child, 5, was seriously injured but conscious and speaking. He is being treated at a children's hospital in Turin.
Authorities have identified the lone survivor as an Israeli boy living in Italy. The child’s parents, younger brother and two great-grandparents were among the dead, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Italian media have identified all other victims as residents of Italy. The Italian ANSA news agency has published the names of the victims.
Images from the scene showed a crumpled cable car on a slope overlooking the lake.
Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino called it a “terrible, terrible scene,” and said the accident may have been caused by a ruptured cable and that the emergency brake failed.
Severino said the car turned over two or three times after crashing to the ground before being stopped by some trees. Some passengers were stuck inside the cabin, while others were thrown out during the crash.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi offered his condolences to the victims “with a particular thought about the seriously injured children and their families.”
The Stresa-Mottarone funicular was closed for repairs between 2014 and 2016. It only recently began operating after a hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. A single cable car can carry about 40 passengers.