At least 14 people have been killed after a cable auto plunged down a slope in Italy.
The cable vehicle was travelling up the mountain when the cabin plummeted some 20 metres to the ground and rolled down the steep slope several times before it was stopped by trees, Severino said. Milan said a total of 15 people were believed to be in the cable auto at the time, though the exact number wasn't certain. Some of those who died were thrown from the cabin.
A photo of the wreckage taken by Italy's fire service showed the damaged remains of the cable auto among a thick patch of pine trees.
"It's a awful moment for me and for our community and I think also for the whole of Italy".
The children were in serious condition when they arrived at the Regina Margherita hospital in nearby city of Turin, spokesman Pier Paolo Berra told NBC News by telephone.
The cable auto dropped near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region and was very high off the ground, Alpine rescue service spokesman Walter Milan said.
He said the cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns forced the closures of ski lifts across Italy.
The Mottarone peak is popular among tourists because of its panoramic views on Lake Maggiore and its picturesque islands as well as the vista of the surrounding Alps.
"We are devastated, in pain", Marcella Severino, Stresa's mayor told national broadcaster RAI, while Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi voiced his condolences to the families of the victims, "with a special thought" for the injured children.
The mountain hosts a small amusement park, Alpyland, that has a children's rollercoaster, and the area also has mountain bike paths and hiking trails.
The cable auto service was popular with tourists for its picturesque views during the 20-minute ride from the lakeside base to the roughly 1,500-meter-high mountaintop.
It appeared to be Italy's worst cable auto disaster since 1998 when a low-flying U.S. military jet cut through the cable of a ski lift in Cavalese, in the Dolomites, killing 20 people.
It is the latest incident to raise questions about the quality of Italy's transport infrastructure.
Late a year ago, inspections were performed on the cables themselves, including magnetic inspections on the primary cables of the lift: the cable that pulls the cabin up the mountain, the support cable that holds the vehicle and the rescue cables. In 2018, the Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed after years of neglect, killing 43 people.
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