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Pilot Error Blamed In Gondola Accident

Tue., Feb. 10, 1998

An Italian investigator said pilot error likely caused a low-flying Marine jet to sever a ski gondola’s cable last week, killing 20 people, RAI state television reported Monday.

The television report did not specify what led investigator Enzo Dalle Mese to conclude pilot error probably was to blame for the Feb. 3 accident at the northeastern Alpine resort in Cavalese.

Dalle Mese, an engineer from the University of Pisa, told RAI he had listened to radio conversations between the jet’s crew and flight controllers at bases at nearby Aviano, Verona and Treviso.

“The mission was clear. The route was clear. The altitudes were clear,” Dalle Mese told RAI.

A spokesman for the U.S. base at Aviano, Master Gunnery Sgt. Tom Adams, said the only comment he could make about the RAI report was that “there is no conclusion” yet in the accident.

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