Italy investigates alleged abduction of cable crash survivor – legal sources

FILE PHOTO: A crashed cable car is seen after it collapsed in Stresa, near Lake Maggiore
FILE PHOTO: Crashed cable car seen after falling into Stresa near Lake Maggiore
FILE PHOTO: A crashed cable car is seen after a fall in Stresa near Lake Maggiore, Italy, May 23, 2021.

September 14, 2021

ROME (Reuters) – A boy’s grandfather, who was the only survivor of a cable car crash in Italy, has been placed under investigation for allegedly kidnapping a child and taking him to Israel, a legal source said on Monday. Said to

Six-year-old Eaton Birn’s parents, younger brother and 11 others were killed in an accident in northern Italy in May.

The aunt told reporters that the boy moved with his aunt to northern Italy, and that his grandfather, Samuel Peleg, picked him up on Saturday for a pre-planned family visit.

However, the pair did not return and Italian media reported that they had flown across the border to Switzerland and were flown to Tel Aviv by a private jet.

“Nana arrived for the day off, as planned in the morning… It was a normal meeting day. But Eaton didn’t come home,” Aya Biran Nirko, the aunt who was given custody of the boy last June, told reporters.

Peleg’s lawyers admitted in a statement that he had taken the boy to Israel. He said that Peleg “acted on impulse” because he was concerned about his grandson’s health and after being excluded from legal proceedings related to the boy’s custody.

A legal source said prosecutors in the northern Italian city of Pavia have opened an investigation into the kidnapping. The prosecutor’s office declined to comment.

Israeli media reported that Eton’s maternal aunt, Gali Peleg, who filed for adoption last August, denied having committed any crime, claiming the boy was being held hostage.

“We didn’t kidnap him. We brought him home… I’m only speaking to make it clear that we have worked for the good of Eaton,” she was quoted as telling Israel’s 103 FM radio station.

Magistrates are still investigating why the cable car, which connected the northern town of Stresa, on the shores of Lake Maggiore, to nearby Mount Mottarone, fell to the ground.

(Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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