6-year-old cable car survivor returned to Italy after a bitter custody dispute

The six-year-old boy who was the sole survivor of the cable car crash was returned to Italy after a bitter custody dispute.

Eitan Biran’s parents, brother and two great-grandparents were among 14 people killed in the accident in May.

His paternal aunt, who lives in Italy, was given guardianship by an Italian judge afterwards.

But in September, Eitan was flown to Israel by his maternal grandfather, Shmulik Peleg, without her permission.

Mr Peleg insisted his actions were legal and in the boy’s best interests, but Italian prosecutors opened a kidnapping investigation, demanding the boy’s return.

An Israeli court agreed that Eitan must be returned to Italy, but the transfer was delayed after his family appealed to the Supreme Court. Judges rejected that appeal last month.

The Peleg family said they would continue to fight “in every legal way” to return the child to Israel.

The legal battle will now continue in the Italian courts, but it is not yet clear what legal options are available.

Eitan had been living in Italy for several years before the accident in northern Italy which killed his brother Tom, his parents Amit Biran and Tal Peleg, his paternal great-grandparents, and nine other people.

After the boy was discharged from hospital in June, an Italian judge granted custody to his paternal aunt, Aya Biran-Nirko, an Israeli-born doctor who lives in the Italian city of Pavia.

On 13 September, Eitan was taken out for the day by Mr Peleg, who had visitation rights.

He travelled by car with Eitan to the Swiss city of Lugano and then flew with him to Tel Aviv in a private jet, using the boy’s Israeli passport.