Italy cable car accident: At least nine dead and two children seriously injured after mountain crash

AT LEAST nine people have been killed after a cable car plunged to the ground in Italy today.

Two seriously injured children, believed to be aged five and nine, have been airlifted to hospital after the gondola fell just 300 metres from the mountain's summit.

A huge rescue mission is under way following the major incident in Mottarone, northern Italy.

Eleven people were believed to be on board the cable car at the time.

Press agency AP says nine people have now died.

It's reported the cable may have snapped.

The two youngsters onboard have been taken by air ambulance to a special paediatric hospital in Turin.

A photo of the wreckage taken by Italy’s fire squad shows the crushed and crumpled remains of the cable car in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by the woodland, as well as the steep slope.

Rescuer Walter Milan told Italy's SkyTG24 said the cable car collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region.

It was "very high off the ground" when it fell, according to reports.

Mr Milan told press: "It is a very serious accident."

The cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns forced the closures of ski lifts across Italy.

In a tweet, the rescue service said: "Serious accident on the Stresa- Mottarone cable car.

"Alpine rescue and other rescue teams on site.

"Two helicopter ambulances intervened."

Mottarone reaches a height of 4,900 feet and overlooks a picturesque lake.

The mountain features a small amusement park, Alpyland, that has a children’s rollercoaster offering 360-degree views of the scenery.

Many Italian ski areas feature mountain bike paths and hiking trails that are popular in spring and summer.

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