Cable car heating caused the fire that killed 155 people, says report

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The Independent Online

The fire that killed 155 people trapped in a cable car late last year originated with the heating system, an Austrian weekly reported today.

The fire that killed 155 people trapped in a cable car late last year originated with the heating system, an Austrian weekly reported today.

The weekly Profil cited an employee of the team of experts investigating the cause of the fire as saying the heating system was responsible. It said the employee did not want to be named.

There was no official confirmation. Later this week, the melted-down car is to be transported from the now-sealed tunnel where the tragedy occurred in Kaprun, south of Salzburg, for further inspection.

The fire broke out on November 11 in a cable car heading up a tunnel through the mountainside, killing 155 people from Austria, Germany, the United States, Japan, Slovenia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and one Briton. It was the worst recorded accident of its kind.

The weekly cited the head of the expert team, Volker Edlinger, as saying that the fire was able to spread quickly at high temperatures because the cabin was made of a highly flammable compound of molded fiberglass and plastic.

Other experts cited by the weekly speculated that a defective coil in the heating system was responsible or possibly a parka ignited after being placed on a radiator.

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