Three men held over Italian cable car tragedy released from custody

All three men held over Italian cable car tragedy that killed 14 people are released from custody after investigating judge found a ‘total lack of evidence’ against two of them

  • Service manager Gabriele Tadini has been placed under house arrest
  • Technical director Enrico Perocchio and Luigi Nerini, head of the cable car company have both been released from custody as the investigation continues
  • All three men remain under investigation for the tragic crash on May 24

Three men who were arrested over the Italian cable car crash that killed 14 people were released from jail overnight, after a judge found a ‘total lack of evidence’ against two of them.

Officials on Sunday said that service manager Gabriele Tadini was put under house arrest, while technical director Enrico Perocchio and the head of the cable car operating company, Luigi Nerini, were released.

All three remain under investigation for suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence over the tragedy.

In Italy, judges must approve continued detention of suspects and usually order pre-trial detention only under special circumstances, for example when the accused is a flight risk.

The three men were detained on Wednesday after Tadini admitted to investigators that he had deactivated an emergency brake system that could have prevented the crash.

He said he did it because the system was malfunctioning and had halted service several times, and insisted that he acted in agreement with the two other suspects.

Three men who were arrested over the Italian cable car crash that killed 14 people were released from jail overnight, after a judge found a ‘total lack of evidence’ against two of them. Pictured: Gabriele Tadini leaves Verbania prison for house arrest


Officials on Sunday said that service manager Gabriele Tadini was put under house arrest, while technical director Enrico Perocchio (right) and the head of the cable car operating company, Luigi Nerini (left), were released. All three remain under investigation for suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence over the tragedy. 

The three men were detained on Wednesday after Tadini (pictured) admitted to investigators that he had deactivated an emergency brake system that could have prevented the crash

Pictured: The prison where the three men were being held in Verbania, Italy 

But judge Donatella Banci Bonamici found a ‘total lack of evidence against Nerini and Perocchio’, according to a ruling quoted by the Corriere della Sera newspaper on Sunday.

According to the judge, Tadini tried to shift some of the blame on his two superiors after acting ‘with total disregard for human life, with bewildering carelessness’.

Tadini’s lawyer Marcello Perillo said his client ‘will have to face consequences’ for his admission, adding that the extent to which the other two men had indeed being informed of his actions was yet to be established.

‘There is no proof at present they were also responsible. They are people who should have known, but it’s not clear if they did,’ Perillo said.

Perocchio has claimed he had no idea that the brakes had been blocked. ‘I’ve got 21 years of experience with lifts that use cables, I know that’s something you don’t ever, ever do,’ Perocchio said, according to La Repubblica. 

Local media reported that none of the men were ruled to be a flight risk and there was no risk of evidence being tampered with. 

The cable car crashed near the top of the Mottarone mountain on May 24, after its pull cable snapped and the car flew backwards, dislodging itself from a second, supporting cable

Graphic shows the cable car’s route after the cable snapped as the car neared the station at the top of the mountain

Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi said she would ‘carefully assess’ the judge’s ruling, noting that it could be appealed, and said it would not derail investigations.

‘The suspects remain the same, our work goes on,’ she told reporters.

The cable car crashed near the top of the Mottarone mountain on May 24, after its pull cable snapped and the car flew backwards, dislodging itself from a second, supporting cable.

Had the emergency brake worked, the car would have remained hanging on the supporting cable. Investigators are still trying to ascertain why the first cable broke. 

The accident left a five-year-old boy from an Israeli family who lived in Italy as the only survivor. He lost his parents, younger brother and great-grandparents.

After the crash, Eitan Biran was airlifted to a hospital in Turin in northwest Italy, where he was intubated and sedated and treated for multiple injuries.

He regained consciousness on Thursday, and the hospital said on Sunday that his condition was ‘significantly improving’, reporting that he had resumed eating ‘soft and light food’. 

The accident left a five-year-old boy from an Israeli family who lived in Italy as the only survivor. He lost his parents, younger brother and great-grandparents. Pictured: Eitan Biran (in striped shirt) was the sole survivor of the crash. He is pictured here with his father Amit, mother Tal and brother Tom, who were killed


Alessandro Merlo and Silvia Malnati, 29 and 27, died in the tragedy. Friends said the couple had been engaged for 10 years and were planning to marry


Angelo Vito Gasparro, 45, wife Roberta Pistolato (together left and right), died when the cable car plunged 65ft during a trip to the mountains to celebrate Roberta’s 40th birthday


Vittorio Zorloni and Elisabetta Persanini (together left, and Vittorio pictured right) were also killed in the accident, along with their five-year-old son Mattia. The couple were engaged and due to be married next month, Italian media reported

‘At the moment the child remains in intensive care as a precaution,’ with his aunt and grandmother assisting him, the hospital added.

Among the dead were Eitan’s family – parents Tal, 26, and Amit, 30, brother Tom, 2, and great-grandparents Itshak and Barbara Cohen, 82 and 70 – Alessandro Merlo, 29, his fiance Silvia Malnati, 27; husband Angelo Vito Gasparro, 45, and wife Roberta Pistolato; Vittorio Zorloni, his fiancee Elisabetta Persanini, 38, and the couple’s five-year-old son Mattia; and couple Serena Cosentino, 27, and Mohammadreza Shahaisavandi, 23.  

The Mottarone mountain served by the cable car is a popular tourist location, as it offers scenic views of Lake Maggiore and of the more distant Alps.

On the website of the cable car, it is advertised as ‘one of Italy’s most beautiful natural balconies’.

The northwestern region of Piedmont, where the accident happened, declared a day of mourning on Sunday, and urged its residents to observe a minute of silence at noon (1000 GMT).

Source: Read Full Article