Roberta Pistolato, a doctor working on the frontlines of Italy’s battle against Covid, has died as she celebrated her 40th birthday with boyfriend Angelo Gasparro, 45.
About an hour before the disaster, Ms Pistolato sent her sister a last scary text message, saying: “We are going up in the cable car”.
Fiancees 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 from 65 feet.
A nine-year-old boy died after being airlifted to a Turin hospital, while the only survivor – a five-year-old boy – was in serious condition with injuries to his head, chest and legs.
The cable car was approaching a station atop the 4,900-foot Mottarone Mountain when it plunged, tumbled down steep terrain and crashed into trees.
The victims made the 20-minute drive to the summit from the town of Stresa to enjoy stunning views of Lake Maggiore.
The mayor of Stresa, Marcella Severino, said the accident was caused by the rupture of one of the cables, although the cause is still under investigation.
Ms. Pistolato and Mr. Gasparro, who lived in Castel San Giovanni, had decided to climb the mountain to celebrate their 40th birthday, the Repubblica reported.
About an hour before the tragedy, she texted her sister to say “we’re getting on the cable car,” the report adds.
Ms Pistolato worked in coronavirus vaccination centers and visited patients in their homes during the pandemic, her bosses said.
Mr. Merlo and Ms. Malnati were from the northern city of Varese, where neighbors reported their shock and devastation.
Rosa Tagliani said Ms. Malnati was “always happy” and smiling.
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The neighbor added: “I saw her three days ago and she said, ‘Hi Rosa, how are you? “
An investigation has been launched to identify the cause of the tragedy.
Ms Severino, mayor of Stresa, told RAI that hikers heard a loud whistling sound before the accident just after noon.
Some of the victims were found trapped inside the car, others thrown into the woods, she added.
The mayor said: “We are devastated, in pain.
“It’s a terrible moment for me and for our community and I also think for all of Italy.
“Especially now that we’re just starting to restart (after the pandemic). “
“It’s all hard to believe,” she added.
The cable car had restarted only a month ago after the Covid lockdown in the country.
Officials said the cable car system, which opened in August 1970, had been subject to regular checks, the most recent having taken place last November.