No fewer than 14 passengers have been feared killed when a cable car approaching a station on top of the 4,900ft Mottarone Mountain in Italy plunged and rolled down a steep terrain and crashed into trees.
According to reports, the victims in the cable cart were making the 20-minute journey to the summit from the town of Stresa to enjoy stunning views of Lake Maggiore.
Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino said the accident was believed to have been caused by one of the cables breaking, though the cause was still under investigation.
One of the victims, Roberta Pistolato, a doctor working on the frontline of Italy’s battle against Covid, died as she celebrated her 40th birthday with her boyfriend Angelo Gasparro, 45.
About an hour before the disaster, Ms Pistolato sent a chilling final text message to her sister, saying: “We’re getting on the cable car.”
Engaged couple Silvia Malnati 27, and Alessandro Merlo, 29, were also killed.
One family, originally from Israel and living in Italy, lost five members in Sunday’s tragedy, including a two-year-old boy and an 81-year-old grandmother, when the car fell 65ft.
A nine-year-old boy died after being airlifted to a hospital in Turin, while the only survivor – a five-year-old boy – was in a serious condition with injuries to his head, chest and legs.