Italy investigates the kidnapping of a boy who survived the cable car crash that killed 14

ROME — Six-year-old Eitan Biran was the only survivor of a cable car crash in Italy that killed 14 people in May. He lost parents, brother and grandparents in the accident. Now the child is at the center of a legal battle. Italian authorities are investigating a kidnapping charge after the boy was taken to Israel by his grandfather without the consent of all relatives.

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According to The Guardian newspaper, Eitan was in the care of his paternal aunt Aya Biran-Nirko in the city of Pavia. She gained custody after he was discharged from a hospital in Turin in June. Eitan’s maternal aunt, however, last month started an adoption process, alleging that the child was being held hostage. Gali Peleg lives in Tel Aviv.

Cable car cabin drops near the town of Stresa, near Lake Maggiore, Italy Photo: ALPINE RESCUE SERVICE / via REUTERS
Cable car cabin drops near the town of Stresa, near Lake Maggiore, Italy Photo: ALPINE RESCUE SERVICE / via REUTERS

Eitan’s maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, moved to Italy after the accident. He constantly visited the child. On Saturday morning, however, he left with the boy but did not return home until 6:30 pm, as agreed. After the aunt sought the police, it was discovered that the child had left Italy aboard a private plane with Peleg, who had Eitan’s Israeli passport. Diplomatic sources confirmed the arrival in Israel.

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This Sunday, in an interview with Radio 103FM in Israel, the aunt refuted the accusation that the boy had been kidnapped.

“We didn’t kidnap Eitan and we won’t use that word. We brought Eitan back home. We had to do this after we didn’t receive any information about his health or mental condition. If the judge had not scheduled meetings [com a criança], we wouldn’t have seen her,” he claimed.

The lawyer for Eitan’s aunt, Armando Simbari, argues that the child was “torn from the family” and that the change affects health care after the accident.

— The news is worrying for everyone. Eitan was torn from the family he grew up with and the doctors who are still treating his trauma,” he said in an interview with the newspaper Corriere della Sera.

remember the case

The cable car accident occurred around noon (local time) 100 meters from the last station and was caused by a cable break. The 15-person cabin fell from a height of 20 meters, down a steep slope, and rolled several times until stopped by the trees.

The popular transport links the city of Stresa with Mount Mottarone in 20 minutes, which is at a height of almost 1,500 meters, and offers tourists a view of the Alps and Lake Maggiore.