An Italian judge ruled Sunday that a service technician who disabled the brakes on a cable car is responsible for the fatal accident last week that left 14 people dead. The technician, Gabriele Tadini, one of three suspects originally imprisoned for their suspected involvement, has now been transferred to house arrest.
According to reports, Tadini disabled the cable car’s emergency brake because it kept locking up spontaneously. Tadini’s lawyer has defended his client’s actions. “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,” said Tadini’s attorney.
The judge has ordered the other two suspects in the case, company owner Luigi Nerini and maintenance chief Enrico Perocchio, released from prison, though they are still under investigation for the incident in which a towing cable snapped, sending the cable car slamming into a pylon and then plummeting to the ground without an emergency brake to stop it. It is not currently known what caused the towing cable to snap.
One 5-year-old boy survived and remains in critical but stable condition. Prosecutors had earlier opened an investigation into involuntary manslaughter after the service director reportedly admitted to disengaging the brake system to stop the car from sporadically stopping. But a judge ruled Sunday that there just was not enough evidence to hold the cable car company’s owner and manager.