Sunday, January 16

Italy investigates alleged kidnapping of a child who survived the cable car accident | Italy

Italian prosecutors launched an investigation after a six-year-old boy who was the only person to survive a cable car accident in Italy in May was taken by his grandfather to Israel, against the wishes of other members of his family in middle of a bitter custody. battle.

Eitan Biran, whose parents and two-year-old brother were killed in the Stresa-Mottarone aerial tram crash on May 23, has been at the center of a custody battle between family members in Italy and Israel.

Eitan, whose parents were Israeli citizens residing in Italy, had been living with his paternal aunt Aya Biran-Nirko in Pavia before her alleged abduction on Saturday. Biran-Nirko was granted custody of the child after he was released from Turin hospital in June. Gali Peri, Eitan’s maternal aunt in Tel Aviv, started an adoption process last month, and her lawyer claimed the girl was being held hostage.

She told Israel’s Radio 103FM on Sunday: “We did not kidnap Eitan and we will not use that word. We brought Eitan back home. We had to do it after we did not receive information about his health or mental condition. If the judge hadn’t scheduled meetings [with the child], we would not have seen it. “

Eitan’s maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, moved to Italy from Tel Aviv after the accident. According to Italian press reports, Peleg took the boy out on Saturday morning, but did not bring him home at 6.30 pm as agreed. After the alarm was raised, Italian police discovered that Eitan had left Italy aboard a private plane with Peleg, who was in possession of the boy’s Israeli passport. Diplomatic sources later confirmed his arrival in Israel.

Italian media reported that Biran-Nirko had repeatedly sent messages to Peleg, who is said to have finally responded: “Eitan has returned home.”

Armando Simbari, a lawyer representing Biran-Nirko, told Corriere della Sera: “The news is upsetting for everyone and generates a lot of concern. He [Eitan] he was taken away from the family he grew up with and the doctors who still treat his trauma. “

Eitan’s great-grandparents were also killed in the crash, which is believed to have happened when a lead cable broke, causing the cabin to tumble backwards before falling about 20 meters into a wooded area below. The cabin was located a few meters from Monte Mottarone, its destination at almost 1,500 meters above sea level, when the accident occurred. Fifteen people had boarded the cable car in Stresa, the town below, next to Lake Maggiore, for the 20-minute ride. Eight of the 14 who died, including a six-year-old boy, were Italian citizens. The other victim was an Iranian citizen living in Rome.

Investigators are still working to establish the cause of the accident. The cockpit “black box” was recently removed from the crash site. It is expected that it will take three months to assess whether the information contained in the software will indicate anomalies in the cable car system. Fourteen people from the company that built and maintained the cable car system and the company that operated it are under investigation.

Prosecutors claimed a few days after the accident that the emergency brakes, which should have prevented the cab from falling backwards when the lead wire broke, had been disabled to prevent service interruptions.

The Stresa-Mottarone service was resumed in late April when Italy eased the coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Investigators said in late May that technical checks were carried out, including one on May 3 to “remedy inefficiencies,” but that they had not been “decisive” in solving the problems.

In June, Italy’s public broadcaster Rai came under fire for broadcasting leaked CCTV footage of the accident, which was the worst cable car disaster in Italy in 20 years.

Twenty people were killed in February 1998 when a US military plane flying too low cut a cable supporting a cabin near the Dolomites ski resort of Cavalese. In 1976, 41 people were killed in an accident that affected the same cable car system.

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