Six-year-old survivor of cable car crash must be returned to Italy, court rules

Eitan Biran’s parents, brother and two great grandparents were killed in the accident, sparking an intense and complicated custody battle between his surviving relatives in Italy and Israel.

The Birans had been living in Pavia in northern Italy, and an Italian judge ruled that Biran’s paternal aunt in Italy should be given guardianship.

But in September, his maternal grandfather visited Biran in Italy, drove him across the border into Switzerland and then flew him to Israel on a private jet.

Days later, Biran’s aunt filed a complaint for the abduction of her nephew with Israeli authorities.

The Family Court in Tel Aviv has now ruled that Biran should be returned to his aunt, rejecting the grandfather’s argument that his actions were lawful and in his grandson’s best interests.

The court rejected the claim that Israel was the minor’s usual place of residence, noting that he had moved to Italy when he was two months old. It also said that it was in the boy’s best interest to remain in the country.

The court also ruled that the grandfather’s actions were unlawful and violated his aunt’s custodial rights.

Eitan Biran’s family died when a cable snapped during a ride at the Stresa-Mottarone cable car from the Lido di Stresa piazza on Lake Maggiore to the nearby Mottarone mountain in the Piedmont region

Authorities believe 15 passengers were riding in the cable car at the time of the incident. The sole survivor, Biran suffered multiple injuries and required surgery.

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