Sole survivor of Italy cable car crash 'wakes up'

Rome, Italy: The boy who escaped a catastrophic cable car disaster in the Italian mountains last weekend is awake and will be taken out of intensive care soon, according to the hospital.

Since the cabin on the Mottarone mountain collapsed, killing the other 14 people inside, including his parents, younger brother, and great-grandparents, the five-year-old has been in serious condition.

"Eitan is now awake and conscious in the intensive care unit, speaking with his aunt and looking around," said a spokesman for Turin's Regina Margherita hospital.

"From a clinical point of view, he is still in a critical condition due to his thoracic and abdominal trauma and the fractures to his limbs.

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"In the next few days, he will be taken out of intensive care and transferred to a hospital ward."

Three senior executives from the cable car firm were arrested by Italian police on Wednesday in connection with the tragedy that occurred on Sunday.

They are suspected of purposefully disabling the emergency brake, which would have prevented the cable car from falling backward if the rope had snapped.

'It's in fine hands,' says the narrator.

To cheer him up, Eitan's classmates sent him an art project covered with colorful handprints and drawings.

"It's an enormous tragedy," artist Stefano Bressani, father of one of his schoolmates, told Il Messaggero newspaper.

The mayor of Stresa, where the cable car began, Marcella Severino, informed the newspaper that the youngster was being looked after by his aunt, his father's sister.

"She has great strength, which will serve her well by her nephew's side. She's a constant presence in the life of the child, he's in good hands," she said.

Also read | 13 killed in Italy cable car accident

Transport Minister Enrico Giovannini briefed parliament on the event earlier Thursday, describing how the cable car collided with a support pillar before crashing to the ground.

Thirteen people died instantly, while Eitan and another youngster were rushed to the hospital. The other child passed away afterward.

Luigi Nerini, head of the Ferrovie del Mottarone firm that administers the cable car, and two service managers, Gabriele Tadini and Enrico Pinocchio, were the three individuals arrested, according to Giovannini.

He told lawmakers that they deactivated the emergency braking system "to minimize the system's continual blocking caused by the recurrent — presumably unjustifiable — operation of the braking mechanism, which had been indicating anomalies for roughly a month."

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