A pilot and his passenger had a ‘miraculous escape’ after their plane crashed into a ski lift in the Italian Alps.
Dramatic photographs show the light aircraft having become entangled in the overhead cables powering a chair lift and left dangling upside down.
The pilot, 62, was thrown from the plane on to the wing during the crash in an Italian resort in Lombardy in the north of the country.
He did not suffer serious injuries and was transported to hospital in nearby Sondalo.
A 55-year-old tourist from Varese, who was a passenger in the craft, escaped physically unscathed.
The light aircraft was seen ensnared in the ski lift overhead cables in the Italian resort of Lombardy following the crash today
Rescuers spend an hour-and-a-half trying to free the 62-year-old pilot and his passenger, 55, from the tangled plane high above the Italian alps
The pair was involved in a 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.
Walter Milan said: ‘They really were very, very lucky. It was a miraculous escape. The plane crashed into the cables but fortunately it became stuck rather than crashing to the ground.
‘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.
One rescuer said it was ‘a miracle’ the two men survived after their light aircraft became tangled in ski lift power cables
‘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.’
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