A dramatic rescue was launched in the Italian Alps after the pilot was thrown from his plane and ended up on the wing
By Alexandra Williams in Geneva and Joseph Wilkes
The light aircraft was left dangling upside down in overhead cables after crashing into a ski lift in Lombardy in the north of the country.
The pilot, 62, was thrown from the plane on to the wing but had a “miraculous escape” along with his passenger, a 55-year-old tourist from Varese, who escaped physically unscathed.
The 62-year-old did not suffer serious injuries but was transported to hospital in Sondalo.
The pair was involved in a daring and complex 90-minute rescue operation involving 20 army personnel, firefighters and cave and mountain rescuers.
The accident, at midday on Sunday, happened in Prato Valentino ski resort in Teglio, which is closed for the autumn.
A spokesman for the Corpo Nazionale Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico, the national cave and mountain rescue unit, said it was “a miracle’ the two men survived.
“The rescue operation was very tricky. The rescuers had to very carefully manoeuvre along the cables very, very slowly. We didn’t want the cables moving any more than necessary.
“Ropes were then secured around the two men. The whole operation to bring them to safety took an hour and a half.
“We had 20 rescue personnel and two helicopters involved.
“It was a miracle. The pilot suffered injuries but not too serious. Both men were of course very shocked also.”
Mountain guide Marco Confortola, who posted a video on Facebook showing him edging along the cable to reach the victims, said: “The mountain rescue service worked perfectly. [The operation was conducted] with speed and professionalism.”
An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the crash.
Mr Milan said: “There are a number of possible reasons for the crash such as human error or a mechanical failure but we do not want to speculate. There is an investigation.”