Italy investigates cause of cable car crash

Italy says it has launched an investigation into the cause of a cable car crash that killed more than a dozen people, including children.

The Stresa-Mottarone cable car - that travels from Lake Maggiore to the top of the Mottarone mountain - plummeted into the woods below on Sunday (May 23).

Five Israelis were among the dead, according to Israel's Foreign Ministry.

Italy's alpine rescue service said that two children were taken by helicopter to a pediatric hospital in the nearby city of Turin.

The hospital said one child - believed to be between 9 and 10 years old - died after suffering cardiac arrests.

Enrico Giovanni is Italy's transport minister.

"The government, as well all the institutions, are naturally committed to understanding the causes, to understanding what happened. But they are also committed to being close to the families of those who have lost their lives, in particular the child who, as you know, is in hospital in Turin in a critical condition, and who has already been seen by one of his family members in order to provide some assistance. At this moment, assistance to the family members is a crucial element."

The Stresa-Mottarone lift had only recently re-opened following the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions.

Stresa's mayor, Marcella Severino, spoke to reporters near the scene:

“It is a terrible moment for me and for our community and I think also for the whole of Italy. Especially in this moment where we were just beginning to restart.”

Severino said that important maintenance works, including changing the cables, had been carried out in recent years.

Prosecutors in Milan said they had opened an investigation into involuntary homicide and negligence, according to local media.