A cabin on the Stresa-Mottarone aerial tramway, situated west of Lake Maggiore in Italy’s Piedmont region, crashed on May 23. Fourteen people, aged 2 to 82, were killed, and only a five-year-old child survived seriously injured.

The two-section large-gondola lift was built in 1970 by Piemonte Funivie. Leitner renovated both ropeways between 2014 and 2016 at a cost of €4.4 million. The twin tramways started operating this year on April 24 after a lengthy Covid-related closure. Each of the four 40-passenger cabins rides on a single-track rope and is powered by a haul rope loop. The accident occurred on the second section, which has two cabins traveling in opposite directions between the mid and top stations. The cabin was not fully occupied due to Covid regulations. It is still unclear why the automatic safety brake failed to engage after the haul rope snapped, allowing the gondola to plummet without braking. The emergency brake of the oncoming car worked flawlessly. The Piedmont regional prosecutor announced a criminal inquiry.

The incident is the deadliest involving an Italian ropeway since 1998, when a U.S. military aircraft hit a tramway near Cavalese, killing 20.