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The emergency brakes on a cable car that plunged to the ground in Italy had been tampered with — and three people have been arrested in connection to the horrific crash that killed 14 people, prosecutors said Wednesday.
“We arrested three people who it turns out were directly involved in a concrete fact: The emergency brake mechanism of the cabin that fell onto the Mottarone slope was manipulated,” Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi told reporters.
Bossi said the company that operates the cable car dismantled the emergency brakes as a “conscious gesture” to prevent service disruptions, the Guardian reported.
The cable car system — which operates from the town of Stresa on Lake Maggiore to Mottarone mountain in the Alps — had “anomalies” since resuming service in late April, the outlet said.
But to put off doing more extensive, “radical” repairs, the workers placed a clamp on the emergency brake, Bossi said.
“The [cable car] had been traveling in that way for several days and had made several trips,” Bossi told local news outlet Ansa.
The three suspects were arrested early Wednesday after an overnight interrogation, the Daily Beast reported.
Luigi Nerini, the owner of the cable car company, manager Enrico Perocchio and service director Gabriele Tardini all face manslaughter charges, the outlet reported.
Carabinieri Lt. Col. Alberto Cicognani said at least one of the three had admitted to being aware of the faulty brakes.
The cable car was carrying 15 passengers Sunday when it fell to the ground and then overturned “two or three times before hitting some trees,” Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino said.
Only one of the passengers survived the crash, 5-year-old Eitan Biran.
His parents, great-grandparents and 2-year-old brother were among the casualties.
With Post wires
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