Eitan Biran: Boy who survived cable car crash must return to Italy, Israeli court rules

Eitan Biran was sole survivor of horror cable crash in Italy.

A court in Tel Aviv has ruled that a six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of a cable car crash in May must be returned to Italy after his maternal grandfather was accused of bringing him to Israel illegally last month.

Eitan Biran - whose parents, two-year-old brother and great-grandparents were among the 14 people killed in the accident near Lake Maggiore - had been placed in the custody of his paternal aunt Aya Biran and her family who live in Pavia, northern Italy.

However the boy became the subject of a bitter custody battle, with his mother's family insisting he should move to Israel despite having lived in Italy since he was a baby.

On 11 September the boy's maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, who had moved to Italy after the tragedy, drove the boy over the border into Switzerland and took him on a private plane to Israel.

Peleg's actions prompted Italian police to launch a kidnapping investigation.

On Monday the Tel Aviv family court ruled that Eitan, who has Italian and Israeli passports, must be returned "to his usual place of residence in Italy.”

The court ruled that the boy's relocation to Israel was unlawful and violated the guardianship rights of his aunt in Italy.

Eitan Biran was the sole survivor of a cable car crash in Italy in May.
Judge Iris Ilotovich-Segal stated: "It is of paramount importance to focus on the minor’s medical and emotional condition and give him the support, care and embrace he needs due to the tragedy that befell him and his family.”Peleg, who was ordered to pay 70,000 shekels (€19,000) in expenses and legal fees, has seven days to appeal the court's decision.

A statement on behalf of the Peleg family said: "The family is determined to continue to fight in all possible ways, for the good of Eitan, his well-being and his right to grow in Israel as his parents wished.”

Photo ANSA/EPA