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At least eight people have been killed after a mountain cable car crashed to the ground, reports say.
Two children have been taken to hospital following the tragedy near Lake Maggiore, Piedmont, in northern Italy on Sunday.
The cable car carried 11 people, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
The cabin plunged from its cable near the summit of the Mottarone mountain down into woods below, local media reported.
Photos from the scene show the wreckage of the cabin in a clearing in the heavily wooded area.
Emergency services, including mountain rescue teams, fire crews and a helicopter, raced to the scene.
Writing on Twitter, the national alpine rescue service said: "Serious accident on the Stresa- Mottarone cable car.
"Alpine rescue, and other rescue teams on site.
“Two helicopter ambulances intervened.”
Walter Milan, a spokesman for the national alpine rescue service, told RaiNews24 TV: "It is a very serious accident."
He said the rescue call arrived just after midday.
The cable car had fallen from very high and was now sitting, "crumpled", in the woods below, he added.
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The two children were taken by helicopter to a paediatric hospital in the northern city of Turin.
The cabin is said to have fallen into a wood in an inaccessible area below.
Rescue efforts are said to have been made more difficult as a result, according to Italian newspaper Corriere Della Serra.
The Stresa Mottarone cable car connects Maggiore Lake with the mountain.
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The lift had just recently re-opened following the gradual lifting of coronavirus restrictions in Italy.
It takes tourists and locals from the famous town of Stresa, on lake Maggiore, up almost 1400metres above sea level to the top of the Mottarone mountain.
The ride takes about 20 minutes, with a stop in the middle.
Enrico Giovannini, Italy's Minister of Sustainable Infrastructure and Mobility, described it as a "truly terrible tragedy", Sky News reports.
He said: "A terrible tragedy, I have already spoken with the prefect and the director of the Fire Brigade and Civil Protection.
"We are trying to understand what has happened, but it is a truly terrible tragedy."
No-one at the Alpine rescue service was immediately available to give further details.
- In the News
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