The emergency brakes on the cable car that crashed and killed 14 people were deactivated, according to police.
Three men were arrested by Italian police on Wednesday in connection with a cable car crash that killed 14 people in Stresa, Italy, on Sunday.
To avoid delays after a malfunction, the three suspects are accused of deliberately deactivating the brake, which could have prevented the car from flying backwards when the cable snapped.
According to Reuters, Italian prosecutors have launched an investigation into suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence.
The incident, which killed five of the child’s family members, left only a five-year-old Israeli boy as the sole survivor. The boy had multiple leg fractures as well as injuries to his skull, chest, and abdomen.
“His reawakening is continuing, and he was recently extubated,” Giovanni La Valle, director of the Citta della Salute hospital, told reporters, adding that the situation was still “delicate.”
When the car’s lead cable snapped on the Mottarone mountaintop, which overlooks Lake Maggiore and other lakes near Switzerland, the carriage slid down the mountain before crashing to the ground.
The three arrested were the manager of Ferrovie del Mottarone, the company that manages the cable car, and its director as well as the manager of the cableway, an official from Italy’s Carabinieri police force told Reuters.
The three suspects have been identified as Luigi Nerini (CEO of Ferrovie del Mottarone), Gabriele Tadini, and Enrico Perocchio, according to Italian news agencies (the two others at the company).
The emergency brake had been deactivated, according to Carabinieri Lieutenant colonel Alberto Cicognani of Italy’s Radiotre radio station.
The most recent intervention occurred on May 3, but “they did not fix the problem, or only partially fixed it,” according to Cicognani.
“To avoid further service interruptions, they chose to leave in ‘the fork,’ which disables the emergency brake,” Cicognani explained.
Between 2014 and 2016, the cable car was said to have undergone extensive maintenance. Reuters reported that specialist technicians conducted inspections in 2017 and 2020.
Local chief prosecutor Olimpia Bossi claimed the fork had been inserted “several times,” suggesting the car may have been unsafe for some time.
“With the conviction that the cable car would never break, [the suspects]took the risk which determined the deadly outcome,” Bossi claimed.
The website of the cable car company currently states “The cable car is closed”. This is a brief summary.