14 dead and child in hospital after cable vehicle plunges in Italy

A cable car crashed to the ground in northern Italy

Police suspect snapped cables were the cause of the accident.

"It was a awful, bad scene", Marcella Severino, Stresa's mayor, told Italy's SkyTG24.

At least 14 people, including five Israelis, died and a child was seriously injured on Sunday when a cable vehicle linking Italy's Lake Maggiore with a nearby mountain plunged to the ground, officials and rescuers said.

Italy's national fire brigade posted a photograph of the crash site on social media, which shows first responders surrounding the mangled cable vehicle near broken trees and severed cables.

At that point, the auto overturned "two or three times before hitting some trees", she said.

A local rescue service said that at least 14 people, including a child, died and another child was rushed to a hospital.

"The provisional toll is eight dead and two injured" who were rushed to a pediatric hospital in the city of Turin, emergency services spokesman Walter Milan told AFP.

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

"It is a very serious accident", said Mr Milan.

Italy only reopened a few weeks ago, allowing travel between regions after a winter of Covid-19 restrictions.

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.

Italian premier Mario Draghi offered his condolences to the families of the victims "with a particular thought about the seriously injured children and their families".

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 Stresa-Mottarone cable vehicle line advertises a panoramic, 20-minute trip up the mountain from its base at the lake, offering a view of a total of seven lakes at the peak.

Italy's transport minister, Enrico Giovannini, was following the rescue effort, which involved the deployment of three helicopters to the mountainside. In 2018, the Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed after years of neglect, killing 43 people.