Italy cable car plunge First pictures of victims of tragedy which killed 14

These are the primary pictures of two tragic couples who were among 14 people killed during a horror car plunge on a mountain in Italy.

Roberta Pistolato, a doctor performing on the frontline of Italy’s battle against Covid, died as she celebrated her 40th birthday together with her boyfriend Angelo Gasparro, 45.

About an hour before the disaster, Ms Pistolato sent a chilling final text message to her sister, saying: “We’re aged the car .”

Engaged couple Silvia Malnati 27, and Alessandro Merlo, 29, were also killed.

One family, originally from Israel and living in Italy, lost five members in Sunday’s tragedy, including a two-year-old boy and an 81-year-old grandmother, when the car fell 65ft.

A nine-year-old boy died after being airlifted to a hospital in Turin, while the sole survivor – a five-year-old boy – was during a serious condition with injuries to his head, chest and legs.

The car was approaching a station on top of the 4,900ft Mottarone mountain when it plunged, rolled down the steep terrain and crashed into trees.

The victims were making the 20-minute journey to the summit from the town of Stresa to enjoy stunning views of Lake Maggiore.

Stresa Mayor Marcella Severino said the accident was believed to possess been caused by one among the cables breaking, though the cause was still under investigation.

Ms Pistolato and Mr Gasparro, who lived in Castel San Giovanni, had decided to travel up the mountain to celebrate her 40th birthday, la Repubblica reported.

About an hour before the tragedy, she texted her sister to mention “we’re aged the cable car”, the report added.

Ms Pistolato had been performing at coronavirus vaccination centres and visiting patients at their homes during the pandemic, her bosses said.

Mr Merlo and Ms Malnati were from the northern city of Varese, where neighbours told of their shock and devastation.

Rosa Tagliani said Ms Malnati was “always cheerful” and smiling.

The neighbour added: “I saw her three days ago and she or he said to me, ‘Hi Rosa, how are you?”

An investigation has been launched to spot the explanation for the tragedy.

Ms Severino, the mayor of Stresa, told broadcaster RAI that hikers heard a loud hiss before the crash just after midday.

Some of the victims were found trapped inside the car, with others thrown into the woods, she added.

“All of this is often hard to believe,” she added.

The car had only restarted a month ago following the country’s Covid lockdown.

Officials said the car system, which first opened in August 1970, had undergone regular checks, with the foremost recent one happening last November.