Criminal charges are being considered as part of an investigation into a cable car disaster in northern Italy that killed 14 people on Sunday.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, lead prosecutor Olimpia Bossi said an investigation into the disaster, which unfolded on a mountain near Lake Maggiore, would be focusing on why the lead cable snapped and why the brakes of the cable car system appeared to fail.
“The cable was on the ground, broken. The brakes of the security system didn”t work. Otherwise, the cabin would have stopped as the other cable car stopped while it was at the bottom of the line. So these are the facts, but the reason why that happened is naturally under investigation,” Bossi said, according to The Associated Press.
The prosecutor said criminal charges could potentially be laid as more information comes to light.
Among the “hypothetical charges”, she said, are “multiple manslaughter” and “attempted manslaughter” of the sole survivor of the incident – a five-year-old Israeli boy living in Italy, who is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Turin after suffering multiple broken bones.
The Israeli foreign ministry has identified the young boy as Eitan Biran, with his parents, younger brother and two great-grandparents being among those killed in the disaster.
Bossi further said that charges for an “attack on public transport” could also be considered.
While she said a cable car may “look like a peculiar” form of public transport, she said that it ultimately fits the definition.
In the hours following the incident, concerns have been raised over the safety of Italy’s transportation infrastructure.
The country’s transport ministry has said that the cable car system had undergone a renovation in August 2016 and had received a full maintenance check in 2017 and further inspections last year.
The cables themselves had been checked in November and December 2020, the transport ministry said.
Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini announced that there would be an inquiry into the incident, alongside the investigation from the prosecutor’s office.
Condolences for the victims’ families have poured in in the wake of the incident, with EU Council President Charles Michel offering his condolences in a tweet, writing “Europe is in mourning with you” in Italian.