© Reuters. Police and ambulance service members are seen near the crashed cable car after it collapsed in Stresa near Lake Maggiore, Italy on May 23, 2021. ITALIAN POLICE / Handout via REUTERS
ROM (Reuters) – Nine people died and two children were seriously injured on Sunday when a cable car connecting Italy’s Lake Maggiore to a nearby mountain in the Alps fell to the ground.
The Stresa-Mottarone cable car takes tourists and locals from the city of Stresa on Lake Maggiore, almost 1,400 meters above sea level, to the summit of the Mottarone mountain.
“This is the last number in the accident as the car carried eleven passengers in the disaster,” Simone Bobbio, spokeswoman for the Italian ambulance service for the Piedmont region, told Reuters.
The cable car cabin crashed close to the penultimate pillar as it went up the mountain, Bobbio said, adding that there are still no details on the victims’ nationality or age.
Walter Milan, another spokesman for the national alpine rescue service, told RaiNews24 television that two children had been helicoptered to a children’s hospital in the nearby northern city of Turin.
A call to emergency services came just after noon (1000 GMT), Milan said, adding that the cable car had fallen from a very high point and was now “wrinkled” in the forest below.
The Stresa Mottarone lift only recently reopened following the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
The Mottarone peak is popular with tourists for its panoramic views of Lake Maggiore and its picturesque islands, as well as the view of the surrounding Alps.
The cable car was first opened in August 1970 after almost three years of work to replace a rack railway. The journey takes 20 minutes, according to the website.
The double cable system is divided into two sections, just over two kilometers between Stresa and Alpino and another three kilometers between Alpino and Mottarone.
It consists of two cars – in alternating directions – with up to 40 passengers each.
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