| 29 May 2024, Wednesday |

Custody case opens over boy, 6, sole survivor of Italian cable car disaster

A Tel Aviv family court held its first hearing on Thursday in a custody battle over a six-year-old boy, the sole survivor of an Italian cable car disaster, who was taken to Israel by his grandfather without permission of family in Italy.

Family members based in the two countries dispute who should look after Eitan Biran, whose parents, younger brother and 11 other people all died when a gondola plunged to the ground in northern Italy in May.

The boy moved in with his paternal aunt, Aya Biran, in northern Italy after the accident. His maternal grandfather, Shmuel Peleg, picked him up on Sept. 11 for a planned family trip but they never returned.

The family in Italy says Peleg drove with Eitan across the nearby border to Switzerland and flew on a private jet to Israel, where the grandfather and other family members live.

They describe the trip as a kidnapping, and have petitioned the Israeli family court for the child’s return. Peleg has said his actions were legal and in Eitan’s best interests.

  • Reuters