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14 dead in cable car accident as child dies in hospital after ‘cable snaps’ in northern Italy

AT least 14 people have died - including a child in hospital - after a horrific cable car accident sent tourists crashing down a mountain.

Two seriously injured children aged five and nine were airlifted to hospital where one later died after the gondola fell near the mountain's 4,900ft summit.

Cable cars were closed in Italy during the country's various Covid lockdowns - finally reopening less than a month agoCredit: Reuters

A huge rescue mission was launched following the major incident in Mottarone, northern Italy.

It was initially believed 11 people were inside the gondola - which has capacity for 40 - when it fell.

However, mayor Marcella Severino, who was at the scene this afternoon, says at least 15 were actually inside.

And rescuers have now tragically revised their death toll upwards.

This afternoon, they said nine had died. Now, the toll is believed to be at least 14.

It could rise further, they warned.

"We are devastated, in pain", Ms Severino said: "Thirteen people have been confirmed dead.

"Some were killed inside, while others were thrown from the car. It appears the cable gave way, and walkers saw it happen.

"They heard a loud bang and saw the cable car just before the summit and then it accelerated backwards, struck a support pillar and fell.

"Where it hit the ground is a remote spot, it's on the edge of some woods, and the witnesses said it rolled three times before stopping against some trees.

"The victims have all been identified and it would appear that some are foreign."

Luca Cari, a fire brigade spokesman, said it was still not clear how many people were in the cable car.

"Our teams are still pulling bodies out," he said.

The two youngsters onboard have been taken by air ambulance to a special paediatric hospital in Turin.

The youngest child, a boy, suffered a serious head injury, trauma to his abdomen and breaks to his legs, but was still conscious, Sky Italia reported.

The older child was in a critical condition, newspapers in the region say.

Local media reported one of the children later died at Regina Margherita di Torino died from "very serious injuries".

Images of the tragedy show the crushed and crumpled remains of the cable car in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the woodland, as well as the steep slope.

Images from the scene show how sheer the mountainside isCredit: AFP

A fire engine rushing to the scene of the horror overturned, although no one inside was injured.

Rescuer Walter Milan told Italy's SkyTG24 said the cable car collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region.

"The cable car fell from a relatively high point and it fell into wooded terrain," he said.

"From what I have seen and heard, it is completely destroyed, so the impact was very violent.

"It is a very serious accident."

As yet, the nationalities or ages of the casualties are not known.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said: "I have heard with deep sadness about the tragic accident on the Stresa Mottarone cable car.

"I express the sympathy of all the government to the families of the victims, with particular thought to the children involved who have been left seriously hurt, and their families as well."

A witness told MailOnline: "It was a very steep drop, so the cable car tumbled for a while before stopping against some trees.

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