Cable Car Investigation Finds Engineers, Inspector Guilty

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Brig, Switzerland, June 15 (AP)--Two engineers and a government inspector were convicted of negligent homicide Tuesday for a cable car accident that killed a ski instructor and injured 18 other people.

They were charged with errors in the design of a skiers' gondola lift that collapsed at Riederalp, in southern Switzerland, in December 1996.

The axle of the base station drive wheel broke, causing some of the 15 gondolas in use to swing violently. Three of the gondolas hit the ground. A Swiss ski instructor was thrown out of his cabin and killed.

The three, whose names were withheld by the court, were also convicted of causing serious injury through negligence and negligent disruption of a public service.

One engineer was given a 10-day suspended sentence and both were fined $610. The transport ministry employee was fined $915.

The technical director of cable car manufacturer Garaventa and the inspector's supervisor were cleared of wrongdoing.

Copyright (c) 2000 The Associated Press