Rome Newsroom, May 24, 2021 / 06:00 am (CNA).
Fourteen people died in a cable car crash in northern Italy Sunday after the cable carrying the passengers up a mountain near Lake Maggiore suddenly snapped.
Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, expressed the “closeness of the entire Church in Italy” in praying for the victims and their families.
He said that the crash is a tragedy “that deeply touches the hearts of all” especially because the accident involved families that were on vacation.
Bishop Franco Giulio Brambilla of Novara, a diocese in Piedmont where the crash occurred, offered prayers for the victims and asked that the Holy Spirit give comfort to the families in mourning.
“I learned with deep dismay the news of the dramatic and very serious accident at the Stresa-Mottarone cable car with a very high number of victims, who were experiencing a day of renewed serenity and normality, enjoying the beauties of our region after months of restrictions due to the pandemic,” Brambilla said in a statement May 23.
The cable car accident occurred one day after Italy allowed the reopening of ski lifts and cable cars after months of closure due to the country’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
The cable had been carrying visitors from the town of Stresa up the Mottarone mountain on the afternoon of May 23 when it broke, plunging the car around 65 feet before it hit the side of the mountain.
Italy’s Infrastructure Minister Enrico Giovannini has announced an investigation into the cause of the cable’s failure.
Bishop Brambilla said that he hopes that this tragedy will lead “administrative and technical managers to always pay rigorous attention, using every possible means at their disposal, so that such tragic events never happen again.”
“I also join the concern of all professionals in this sector to ensure that the reception of tourists and locals is guaranteed with the best security,” he said.
Among the victims were six Israeli citizens and at least one child, according to AP.
One young child survived the crash and was airlifted to a hospital in Turin where the child remains in serious condition.
“Deep sorrow now becomes a prayer of intercession for the [deceased] members of five families, for comfort for their loved ones and support for the child who survived and is hospitalized in serious condition at the hospital in Turin,” Bassetti said.
Bishop Brambilla noted that the accident occurred on Pentecost and called on all people in his diocese to pray for “the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to give strength in this moment of mourning and trial.”