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Victims of Italy cable car tragedy pictured as families pay tribute
24 May 2021, 09:58 | Updated: 24 May 2021, 15:06
Friends and family of people who died in a cable car tragedy in Italy have paid tribute after the loss of their loved ones.
Fourteen people including two young children died when the cable car fell 65 ft to the ground near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region of northern Italy.
One family lost five members in the accident.
Amit Biran and Tal Peleg-Biran, their two-year-old son Tom, and Ms Peleg-Biran's grandparents Barbara and Itzhak Cohen were all killed.
Their other son, five-year-old Eitan, is currently the only survivor of the accident and is in hospital in a serious condition.
Also among the victims were Silvia Malnati, 27, and her fiancée Alessandro Merlo, 29.
Their neighbours have spoken of their devastation at the news, and said that Ms Malnati was “always cheerful”.
Another couple, Roberta Pistolato, 40, and Angelo Gasparro, 45, were also killed.
They were taking a trip to the mountain to celebrate Ms Pistolato’s 40th birthday.
It is reported that Ms Pistolato, who was a doctor working on the frontline to tackle Covid-19 in Italy, texted her sister just before to say they were “getting on the cable car”.
Fourteen people are thought to have died in total, including another child, a nine-year-old boy who was taken to a hospital in Turin.
The mayor of the region, Marcella Severino, has said she is “devastated, in pain”.
"It's a terrible moment for me and for our community and I think also for the whole of Italy."
The Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also spoken out, talking of his “deep sadness” at the tragedy.
He said: "I express the sympathy of all the government to the families of the victims, with particular thought to the children involved who have been left seriously hurt, and their families as well."
The emergency services were called to the accident just after midday local time.
Describing the accident, Ms Severino said: "Some were killed inside, while others were thrown from the car.
“It appears the cable gave way, and walkers saw it happen.
"They heard a loud bang and saw the cable car just before the summit and then it accelerated backwards, struck a support pillar and fell.
"Where it hit the ground is a remote spot, it's on the edge of some woods, and the witnesses said it rolled three times before stopping against some trees."
A photo of the aftermath of the crash showed the crushed wreckage of the car, in a clearing among thick pine trees.
It was reported that the rescue efforts were hampered by the inaccessibility of the area.
The cable line was renovated in 2016, and had only recently reopened as coronavirus restrictions across Italy are eased.
Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility Enrico Giovannini said: "A terrible tragedy, I have already spoken with the prefect and the director of the Fire Brigade and Civil Protection.
"We are trying to understand what has happened, but it is a truly terrible tragedy."