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Eitan Wakes Up, Outrage In Italy As 3 Suspects Arrested For Tampering With Emergency Brake

Eitan Biran, 5, the only survivor of the cable car disaster in Italy woke up from his coma on Wednesday with his aunt Aya and one of his doctors by his bedside.

“He’s ventilated and is regaining consciousness,” a doctor at Regina Margarita Hospital in Turin, said. “It will be a gradual restoration of consciousness, which requires time and psychological support. He already opened his eyes and it’s very important that he sees a familiar face next to him.”

According to Italian media reports, a psychiatrist has been tasked with breaking the news of the loss of his family members to Eitan and a team of psychologists will be available for his treatment. Eitan’s parents, younger brother, and great-grandparents were killed in the crash along with nine other people.

Three Italians were arrested overnight Tuesday for suspected manslaughter in connection with the disaster, including the owner and manager of the Mottarone cable car company, the company’s head engineer, and the service director, Italian media reported on Wednesday.

According to the public prosecutor of the Verbania province, the site’s operators were aware that there was a problem with the emergency brake and “tampered with it” weeks before the crash in “a conscious action” in order to avoid putting the cable car service out of service for a thorough repair. Investigators say that a clamp deactivating the emergency brake had been placed as a stop-gap repair, which prevented the brake from activating when the lead cable snapped during the accident.

At least one of the suspects has admitted to placing the clamp on the brake. The suspects face multiple criminal charges.

The mourning in Italy has turned into outrage as it becomes apparent that the accident was entirely preventable.

The fork-shaped clamp placed on the emergency brake. (Photo: Corriere Della Sera)

“For almost a month, the cable cars were like Russian roulette for anyone who rode it,” the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera stated.

The bodies of the five Israeli victims were flown to Israel on Wednesday after a memorial service in the local Jewish community in Stresa.

(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)

4 Responses

  1. I’m wondering how often in the past does a lead cable snap? Why don’t they arrest the person who was responsible on maintaining the cable?

  2. Devastating!!!!! And to know someone tampered wirh it???! 14 lives plus a child thats gonna hafta deal with it! Oy Hashem!!!

  3. I wouldn’t want to have the job of that psychiatrist. This task of revealing that the child’s family was killed may very well be one of the most challenging and trying experiences of the doctor’s career.

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