VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 6, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI expressed his grief over a cable-car accident in the Alps in Austria which killed nine people, including six children.
Monday’s accident in the ski resort town of Soelden, 25 miles southwest of Innsbruck, left six others seriously injured.
In a telegram sent in the Pope’s name to Bishop Manfred Scheuer of Innsbruck, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano expressed the Holy Father’s spiritual closeness to the victims’ relatives, especially those of the children who died.
The Pope, who is praying for the dead and for the speedy recovery of the injured, sent his apostolic blessing.
The accident took place when a helicopter carrying a 750-kilogram (1,650-pound) tub used to carry concrete accidentally dropped its cargo some 300 meters above the ski lift.
The falling tub sent a gondola packed with young German skiers tumbling down a mountainside, killing the nine.
Another six Germans, including three children, were seriously injured as passengers were catapulted out of other gondola cabins, set swinging by the impact of the falling load.
Among the dead, the six youths, ages 11 to 13, belonged to a group of skiers from the Black Forest region in Germany. The three adults were members of a Munich ski club.
Authorities are probing the accident, the worst ever in Austria involving a cable car.