A mountaintop cable car plunged to the ground in northern Italy on Sunday, killing at least nine people and sending two children to the hospital, authorities said.

A photo of the wreckage taken by Italy’s fire squad showed the crushed and crumpled remains of the cable car in a clearing of a thick patch of pine trees near the summit of the Mottarone peak overlooking Lake Maggiore.

At that location, the cables of the ski lift were particularly high off the ground, said Walter Milan, spokesman for the Alpine rescue service. The cause has not been determined.

Milan noted that the cable line had been renovated in 2016 and had only recently reopened after coronavirus lockdowns forced the closures of ski lifts across Italy.

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Rescuers work by the wreckage of a cable car after it collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region, northern Italy, Sunday, May 23, 2022. (Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Piemontese via AP)(Soccorso Alpino e Speleologico Piemontese via AP)

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The wreckage of a cable car is seen on the ground after it collapsed near the summit of the Stresa-Mottarone line in the Piedmont region, northern Italy, Sunday, May 23, 2022. A mountaintop cable car plunged to the ground in northern Italy on Sunday, killing at least five people and sending at least three more to the hospital, authorities said. (Vigili del Fuoco via AP)(Vigili del Fuoco via AP)

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Mottarone reaches a height of 1,491 meters (4,900 feet) and overlooks the picturesque lake and the surrounding Alps of Italy’s Piedmont region. The mountain features a small amusement park, Alpyland, that has a children’s rollercoaster offering 360-degree views of the scenery.

Many Italian ski areas feature mountain bike paths and hiking trails that are popular in spring and summer.

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