Italy cable auto accident kills nine

A crashed cable car is seen after it collapsed in Stresa near Lake Maggiore

ROME-At least 13 people died and three were seriously injured on Sunday when a cable auto linking Italy's Lake Maggiore with a nearby mountain in the Alps plunged 20 meters (66 feet) to the ground, local officials and rescuers said.

The accident occurred by the resort town of Stresa, which lies on the shores of Lake Maggiore in the Piedmont region.

"This is the final toll of the accident as the auto was carrying 11 passengers when the disaster happened", Simone Bobbio, a spokesman for Italy's alpine rescue service for the Piedmont region, told Reuters.

According to officials, two children, ages five and nine, were transferred to a hospital following the accident.

Milan said the cable line was refurbished in 2016 and just recently reopened after the blockade of the coronavirus closed ski lifts across Italy.

Sunday was a attractive, sunny day in the area, and Mr Milan said that many families were taking advantage of the weather to enjoy a day out after months of lockdown.

Giovanni Toti, president of the neighbouring region of Liguria, noted that the tragedy had occurred just as Italy was emerging from months of Covid-related 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.

The accident happened as the cable vehicle was traveling up the mountain, with the cabin dropping some 20 meters (66 feet) and rolling several times down the steep slopes before it was stopped by trees, Severino said. The mountain has a small amusement park, Alpyland, and a children's roller coaster with 360-degree views.

In February 1998, a low-flying USA military jet severed a cable at Cavalese, a ski resort in Italy's Dolomites, killing 20 people.

Italy's transport minister, Enrico Giovannini, was following the rescue effort, which involved the deployment of three helicopters to the mountainside.

The main cause of the incident remains unclear. In 2018, the Morandi bridge in Genoa collapsed after years of neglect, killing 43 people.