Police arrested three men on May 26 on charges of suspected involuntary manslaughter and negligence related to the cable car accident in Italy that killed 14 people.
Police took into custody three members of the Ferrovie del Mottarone cable car company — owner Luigi Nerini, Director Enrico Perocchio, and Chief of Operations Gabriele Tadini.
Prosecutors alleged that the three suspects were aware that the emergency brakes of the cable care were “tampered with” before the deadly accident.
According to local media Chief Public Prosecutor Olimpia Bossi alleged that the three “tampered with” the emergency brakes “to avoid disruptions” to the cable car service, calling it a “conscious gesture.”
A fork-like clamp had been placed over the malfunctioning emergency brake after an unsuccessful repair work, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported, citing Bossi.
“It had been applied to avoid continuous disruptions and blockages of the cable car,” Bossi said, adding that the suspects had thought the cable would not break.
According to Police Commander Luca Geminale, the investigators believe the suspects “blocked the safety brakes because for the past month the cable car had been experiencing anomalies that made it stop frequently.”
The cable car had made several trips for several days before the accident, according to Bossi.
Leitner, the company in charge of the cable car maintenance were “not aware of a problem with the braking system of that cable car,” Spokesperson Maurizio Todesco told NBC News.
“It was not flagged to us,” Todesco said, adding that they checked the brakes’ hydraulic system last April 30 and “it was all in order.”
The cable car carried 15 people between the resort town of Stresa and the nearby Mottarone mountain in the Piedmont region when it crashed into the woods near Lake Maggiore last May 23.