A motorized sled accident killed six people and injured two others when it veered off an Italian Alpine ski slope and slammed into a barrier.
The incident occurred on Friday night in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of northeast Italy. Six of the victims were found dead at the scene.
MSN News reports that Roberto Marchi, commander at the Cavalese Fire Department, stated of the incident:
“It is clear that the fundamental cause is recklessness and imprudence.”
The slope is called “pista nera” or the black ski run. It indicates a level of steepness and other difficult conditions, which make it suitable only for the most experienced skiers.
All eight of the people involved in the motorized sled accident were from Russia. Six of them were tourists, while the other two were working in Italy’s tourist industry. The contraption involved a snowmobile pulling a sled. Two people were sitting on the snowmobile, while it pulled the remaining six on the sled behind it.
Cavalese Mayor Silvano Welponer stated that the number of passengers being pulled behind the snowmobile, “made for a very heavy load. You have to know what you are doing and have the experience” to safely handle the contraption.
The Washington Post notes that the sled and snowmobile veered off of the slope, hit a manmade barrier, flew through the air, sheared tips off of tree branches, then came to rest in a ravine below. The slope was unlit at the time of the accident and it appeared that it had been closed for the day. The only vehicles allowed on it when it is open are either for staff or rescue.
Officials believe that the Russians dined at the top of the slopes before heading back to their hotel. Investigators believe that the crash occurred because of excessive speed, though they are also looking to see if it was the result of a mechanical malfunction. Four men and two women died in the crash, while one man and one woman are injured in the hospital.