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ACCIDENT

Two skiers die in head-on collision in German Alps

An extremely rare tragedy took place on the slopes of a German ski resort of Sunday, when two skiers crashed into one another and died.

Two skiers die in head-on collision in German Alps
Emergency services at the scene of the crash in Feldberg, Baden Württemberg. Photo: DPA

It was the last run of the day at Feldberg ski resort in Baden-Württemberg. The lifts were already closed and the pistes were practically empty, the Badische Zeitung reports.

The crash also happened on a beginners’ slope, where the gradient of the hillside is gentle.

“It's a really flat slope – a so-called beginners’ slope. It’s hard to explain how it could have happened on that part of the piste,” Adrian Probst from the local mountain rescue told news agency DPA.

But Probst said that it was still possible to reach speeds of up to 100 km/h at the site of the accident.

The skiers were both male. One was a 29-year-old from Alsace in France, the other a 30-year-old from Stuttgart. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung both men were wearing helmets.

Emergency services were already on the mountain and got to the men quickly, but after half an hour attempts to resuscitate them were given up.

Further details of how the two men could have fatally collided with one another on a half-empty beginners’ slope remain unclear.

Police closed off the scene of the crash on Sunday afternoon to further investigate its cause and will be speaking to witnesses to build up a clearer picture of the incident.

Feldberg’s mayor Stefan Wirbser told the Badische Zeitung that in his memory only one person had ever died in a collision at the resort before.

The last death at the resort – Baden-Württemberg’s most popular winter sports location – was a skier who suffered a heart attack three years ago. the Süddeutsche Zeitung reports.

 

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ACCIDENT

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident

Thirteen people, including German tourists, have been killed after a cable car disconnected and fell near the summit of the Mottarone mountain near Lake Maggiore in northern Italy.

German tourists among 13 dead in Italy cable car accident
The local emergency services published this photograph of the wreckage. Photo: Vigili del Fuoco

The accident was announced by Italy’s national fire and rescue service, Vigili del Fuoco, at 13.50 on Sunday, with the agency saying over Twitter that a helicopter from the nearby town of Varese was on the scene. 

Italy’s National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps confirmed that there were 13 victims and two seriously injured people.

Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that German tourists were among the 13 victims.

According to their report, there were 15 passengers inside the car — which can hold 35 people — at the time a cable snapped, sending it tumbling into the forest below. Two seriously injured children, aged nine and five, were airlifted to hospital in Turin. 

The cable car takes tourists and locals from Stresa, a resort town on Lake Maggiore up to a panoramic peak on the Mottarone mountain, reaching some 1,500m above sea level. 

According to the newspaper, the car had been on its way from the lake to the mountain when the accident happened, with rescue operations complicated by the remote forest location where the car landed. 

The cable car had reopened on April 24th after the end of the second lockdown, and had undergone extensive renovations and refurbishments in 2016, which involved the cable undergoing magnetic particle inspection (MPI) to search for any defects. 

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Twitter that he expressed his “condolences to the families of the victims, with special thoughts for the seriously injured children and their families”.

Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini told Italy’s Tg1 a commission of inquiry would be established, according to Corriere della Sera: “Our thoughts go out to those involved. The Ministry has initiated procedures to set up a commission and initiate checks on the controls carried out on the infrastructure.”

“Tomorrow morning I will be in Stresa on Lake Maggiore to meet the prefect and other authorities to decide what to do,” he said.

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