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Italy opens probe into cable car crash that killed 14, including Israeli family

STRESA, Italy — Italy’s transport minister vows to establish the cause of a cable car disaster that killed 14 people, after the lead cable apparently snapped and the cabin careened back down the mountain until it came off the line and crashed to the ground.

The lone survivor of Sunday’s horrific incident, a 5-year-old Israeli boy living in Italy, remains hospitalized in Turin on Monday with multiple broken bones.

The Israeli foreign ministry identified him as Eitan Biran. His parents, younger brother and two great-grandparents were among the dead, the ministry said, correcting an earlier statement that had included Eitan among the victims.

Italian media identified all the other victims as residents of Italy.

Rescuers work by the wreckage of a cable car after it collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region, northern Italy, Sunday, May 23, 2021. (Italian Vigili del Fuoco Firefighters via AP)

The disaster, in one of the most picturesque spots in northern Italy — the Mottarone mountaintop overlooking Lake Maggiore and other lakes near Switzerland — raised questions anew about the quality and safety of Italy’s transport infrastructure.

Transport Minister Enrico Giovannini visits the site Monday and announces a commission of inquiry to investigate the “technical and organizational causes” of the accident, while prosecutors will focus on any criminal blame.

Giovannini tells reporters in Stresa, the lakefront town at the foot of the Mottarone peak, that the aim of the investigative commission would be to “ensure this never happens again.”

The transport ministry says a preliminary check of the cable line’s safety and maintenance record shows that the whole lift structure underwent a renovation in August 2016, and that a full maintenance check was performed in 2017.

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