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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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ACCIDENT

Pilot dies in hot air balloon crash in western Germany

The pilot of a hot air balloon died and two passengers were severely injured after it crashed near the banks of the River Rhine in Germany, police said on Monday.

Pilot dies in hot air balloon crash in western Germany
The site of the accident on Monday in St. Goar, Rhineland-Palatinate. Photo: DPA

The balloon was caught by a gust of wind as it came into land at about 8pm on Sunday near Urbar, south of Koblenz in western Germany, according to an initial investigation by local police.

The balloon hit the ground several times, throwing four passengers out of the basket, before being dragged down a hill and getting caught in a tree, police said.

The pilot, who was stuck in the basket, died from his injuries.

The two injured are in a serious condition but out of danger, according to police, with all the passengers flown to local hospitals.

More than 100 people assisted in the rescue operation.

The crash site is across the river from the Lorelei, a steep slate rock and one of the Rhine gorge's most photographed natural phenomena.

The blue envelope of a hot-air balloon hung in the hillside above the Rhine valley near St. Goar after the accident on Monday morning, caught in trees. Photo: DPA

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