Cable car accident on Lake Maggiore: Surviving boy is supposed to go back to Italy

Status: 25.10.2021 5:22 p.m.

14 people died in the cable car accident in Italy – only six-year-old Eitan survived. A dispute broke out between relatives about who he should stay with, and his grandfather secretly brought him to Israel. Now a court has decided – for the time being.

In the alleged kidnapping of little Eitan, the only survivor of the cable car disaster on Lake Maggiore, the family court in Tel Aviv ordered the boy’s return to Italy. Eitan should return to “the place of his habitual residence, which is Italy,” it said in an extract from the judgment. The grandfather, who lives in Israel, also has to pay around 19,000 euros in court costs.

The boy, who had lost both parents, his little brother and two great-grandparents in the accident on Whitsunday that year, was flown to Israel in mid-September by his maternal grandfather, in contravention of a court order.

In the proceedings, the aunt on his father’s side, Aya B., demanded that the six-year-old be returned to Italy with her. She had previously been appointed as the boy’s guardian.

Judge calls on family for reconciliation

The ruling by the Tel Aviv court is merely a decision on the boy’s current whereabouts. It is not a decision about who will have guardianship over him in the long term. Corresponding proceedings are currently pending in Milan and are to be continued on December 1.

Israeli judge Iris Ilotowich-Segal called on family members to reconcile. “It is of paramount importance to focus on the minor’s medical and emotional condition and to give him the support, treatment and hug he needs after the tragedy that befell him and his family.”

Parents are said to have planned to move to Israel

Eitan was born in Israel, according to media reports, but moved to Italy with his parents shortly after the birth. He therefore has an Israeli and an Italian passport. The aunt had said about the proceedings that Pavia in Lombardy was the home of the boy who should have started school in Italy in September.

According to the reports, his mother’s family living in Israel had argued that the parents had specifically planned to move back to Israel. They looked at schools for the boy and tried to buy an apartment with government subsidies. The boy should grow up in Israel.

In its judgment, the court wrote that shortly after the accident in May, the grandfather agreed that the aunt would become the boy’s guardian. A dispute then developed over whether this should be a temporary or a long-term solution. The grandfather sued in Italy against the guardianship of Aya B.

Court refers to Hague Child Abduction Agreement

The verdict said the court did not accept the grandfather’s argument that the boy’s regular abode was Israel – nor that he had two regular abodes, Israel and Italy. It also rejected the argument that the boy’s return to Italy would harm him.

In its judgment, the court referred to the Hague Child Abduction Convention – an international agreement to which both Israel and Italy have signed. The agreement is intended to protect children from kidnapping or kidnapping in other countries. It also provides for children to be returned to the state where they were previously and accustomed to as soon as possible. When that would be in the case of little Eitan was not stated in the court document.

The public prosecutor of the Italian city of Pavia started investigations against the grandfather for child abduction in September. Eitan’s grandmother and, according to the reports, another man are also under suspicion. The man drove the grandfather and the boy in a rented car from Pavia to Switzerland, from where they flew to Tel Aviv, the daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera” reported.

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