Three men were arrested Tuesday in connection with a cable car crash that killed 14 people, police in Italy told NBC News on Wednesday.
Luigi Nerini, the owner of the Ferrovie del Mottarone cable car company, will be remanded in custody at a prison in the city of Verbania for 48 hours, police said. Director Enrico Perocchio and Gabriele Tadini, an engineer at the company, will also be held, they added.
Investigators believe the men knew that a safety brake system in the cable car was disabled, police said.
The gondola came down Sunday as it was making the 20-minute journey from Stresa — a small town on the banks of Lake Maggiore around 55 miles north of Milan — to the summit of the Mottarone mountain in the Alps, almost 4,500 feet above sea level.
It was nearing the end of its journey when the lead cable snapped. The gondola slipped back at a rapid speed until it pulled off the cable and plunged 60 feet to the ground where it rolled over several times until it was stopped by trees. It was still unclear why the lead cable snapped.
There was only one survivor, a 5-year-old Israeli boy who was taken to the Regina Margherita Hospital in the city of Turin with fractures to his legs and trauma to his body.
He is in stable but critical condition and slowly coming out of a medically induced coma but is not yet conscious, hospital spokesman Paolo Berra said Wednesday.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Claudio Lavanga and Rachel Elbaum