Israeli boy, 5, who survived cable car crash opens his eyes

Eitan Biran, sole family member to survive, continues to improve, with his aunt by his bedside as he briefly regains consciousness

The Biran family, with Eitan on the right. (Courtesy)
The Biran family, with Eitan on the right. (Courtesy)

A five-year-old Israeli boy who was the sole survivor of an Italian cable car crash on Wednesday opened his eyes for the first time since the accident that killed his parents, his brother, and two of his great-grandparents.

An official at the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin, where he is being treated, said that Biran, who has been sedated and on ventilation, briefly opened his eyes, according to Italian media reports.

The hospital official said it was “a very delicate stage.”

His aunt, a doctor living in Italy, was said to have been at his bedside when he came round. Biran suffered multiple broken bones in the crash, though doctors determined there was no neurological damage. He has been gradually taken off sedation as his condition improved.

Israeli media reported that a local psychiatrist has been appointed to break the news to the child of the loss of his family.

The bodies of the five members of the Biran family killed in the crash arrived in Israel on Wednesday evening for burial, Israeli Ambassador to Italy Dror Eydar said.

Three people have been arrested over the cable car crash in northern Italy, including the owner and manager of the Mottarone cable car company, which operates the site. Luigi Nerini was arrested along with the company’s lead engineer and operative head of service, according to Italian media.

The tragedy killed 14 people, including the five members of the Biran family. Eitan, who resided in Italy with his family, was apparently saved by the embrace of his father, who died when the cabin crashed to the ground, a hospital spokesperson said Monday.

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