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Three people arrested over cable car disaster that killed 14 including two kids

Three people have been arrested in connection with a cable car disaster in northern Italy that killed 14 people, including two children, it is reported.

A five-year-old boy, Eitan Biran, was the only survivor when the gondola plunged 65ft as it travelled from the town of Stresa, on the shore of Lake Maggiore, to the nearby Mottarone mountain.

Eitan’s father, mother, two-year-old brother and great-grandparents were among those killed, along with a nine-year-old child and their family, an engaged couple and others.

Investigators had said their initial probe into Sunday afternoon’s tragedy would look into how the lead cable snapped and why a safety brake mechanism failed to activate.

Firefighters work around the wreckage of the cable car after it plunged 65ft

Italian prosecutors opened an investigation into suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence.

Initial reports said the cable that was pulling the cabin up the slope snapped as the gondola neared the end of its 20-minute journey to the top of the mountain.

The braking mechanism on a second wire that was bearing the weight of the cabin failed to engage and the gondola slid backwards before apparently hitting a pylon and tumbling to earth, where it rolled over before hitting trees.

An aerial view of the scene where a cable car crashed near Stresa, Italy
The cable car rolled down the steep slope before slamming into trees

Most of the victims died at the scene, with bodies found inside the wreckage and some thrown into the woods.

Eitan was airlifted to a hospital in Turin, where he was in a critical condition after undergoing surgery.

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini visited the area on Monday and said the government would also set up a commission to look into Italy’s worst cable car disaster since 1998, when 20 people died after a low-flying US warplane accidentally cut through a supporting cable.

“The government, as well all the institutions, are naturally committed to understanding the causes, to understanding whathappened,” Giovannini told reporters.

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