A judge in Italy indicated on Sunday that a service technician who purposefully disabled a cable car’s emergency brake was the one responsible for the crash that resulted in 14 deaths.
Three suspects were released from prison Sunday following Judge Donatella Banci Buonamici’s ruling, The Associated Press reports.
Buonamici ruled that there was not enough evidence to suggest cable car company owner Luigi Nerini and maintenance chief Enrico Perocchio knew that the technician had disabled the brakes prior to the May 23 disaster.
The third suspect, technician Gabriele Tadini, had disabled the emergency brake due to it continuing to lock spontaneously, according to the AP. Tadini was also released from prison under house arrest.
All three remain under investigation, the AP reports.
Profit put before safety in Italy cable car disaster, prosecutors say https://t.co/uYKVEYMEAd pic.twitter.com/RqI6erYKhV
— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) May 27, 2021
Tandini had admitted to leaving a fork-shaped bracket inside the cable car’s emergency brake due to it locking spontaneously. His lawyer Marcello Perillo said his client would never have done so had he believed it would endanger people.
“He is not a criminal and would never have let people go up with the braking system blocked had he known that there was even a possibility that the cable would have broken,” Perillo told reporters. “He can’t even begin to get his head around the fact that the cable broke.”
Fourteen people died when the lead cable on the railroad overlooking Lake Maggiore snapped and the emergency brake failed. The cable car ran backwards on its line, pulling off the line entirely and rolling down the mountain before being stopped by some trees.
It is currently unknown what caused the cable line to snap. The company that operates lift, The Vipiteno, has said that “no irregularities were detected,” during the November 2020 magnetic testing of the lead cable, the AP notes.
Eitan Biran, 5, the only survivor of the incident, remains hospitalized but is conscious. His Israeli-born parents, younger brother and great-grandparents all died in the incident. The AP reports that their remains were sent back to Israel.