Boy, six, orphaned in Italian cable car disaster is 'kidnapped'

Boy, six, who was orphaned in Italian cable car disaster is ‘kidnapped’ from his aunt by his grandfather and ‘flown to Israel on a private jet’ amid bitter custody dispute

  • Eitan Biran, six, miraculously survived the May 23 cable car tragedy in the Alps 
  • His mother, father, younger brother and great-grandparents all lost their lives
  • He was living with his paternal aunt Aya Biran-Nirko in Pavia in northern Italy
  • But his grandfather has allegedly kidnapped him and taken him back to Israel 

A six-year-old boy who was orphaned in an Italian cable car disaster has allegedly been kidnapped by his grandfather and flown to Israel on a private jet amid a bitter custody dispute.

Eitan Biran, six, miraculously survived the tragedy in the Alps on May 23, but his mother, father, younger brother and great-grandparents all lost their lives.

He was living with his paternal aunt Aya Biran-Nirko in Pavia, northern Italy following the tragedy but was allegedly picked up and flown to Israel by his grandfather on Saturday. 

Grandfather Shmuel Peleg collected Eitan from his home on Saturday morning but failed to return by early evening as had been agreed, the Times reported. 

Legal guardian Biran-Nirko sent several unanswered messages to Peleg frantically worrying about the six-year-old’s whereabouts until she received a response saying ‘Eitan has returned home’. 

It is thought Peleg flew Eitan out of the country on a private jet because he had been ordered to hand over the child’s Italian passport by August 30, but failed to do so meaning authorities would have raised the alarm if the travel documents were used.

Eitan (pictured bottom with family) miraculously survived the tragedy in the Alps on May 23, but his mother, father, younger brother and great-grandparents all lost their lives

Emergency workers surround the wreckage of a cable car that fell from the Stresa-Alpine-Mottarone line, May 23

Legal guardian Aya Biran-Nirko (pictured) sent several unanswered messages to Eitan’s grandfather on Saturday after he failed to return with the child. She received a response saying ‘Eitan has returned home’ to Israel

The Pelegs have fiercely rejected any suggestion they kidnapped Eitan, telling an Israel radio station ‘we will not use that word’. 

Italian prosecutors opened an investigation into the alleged abduction on Saturday. 

Hours later the Israeli government said its legal position would favour returning Eitan to Italy because the way he was flown out of the country likely constituted a kidnapping, the Israel’s Channel 12 reported. 

The legal advice said the alleged kidnapping violated the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and the boy should be returned to his legal guardian in Italy as soon as possible. 

It added an Italian court had ultimate jurisdiction to decide Eitan’s fate if the two sides of the family were unable to reach a shared custody agreement. 

Eitan’s legal guardian, Biran-Nirko, a mother of two doctor who he has lived with since he was discharged from hospital in Turin in June, has said she is ‘waiting for him to come home’ and the family ‘are very worried about his health.’

‘This is another tragedy for him.’   

It is understood Eitan is currently receiving therapy after losing his mother Tal, 26, father Amit, 30, two-year-old brother Tom and great-grandparents Itshak and Barbara Cohen, 82 and 70, in the crash. 

Six-year-old Eitan Biran (pictured bottom) from Israel,  has no memory of the cable car crash in Italy that killed his entire family, doctors revealed

Eitan miraculously survived the tragedy (pictured: site where cable car crashed to the ground) in the Alps, but his mother and father, younger brother and great-grandparents were all killed 

Biran-Nirko’s lawyer Armando Simbari branded the alleged abduction ‘an international kidnapping’. 

‘Biran-Nirko was granted custody by two courts who wanted Eitan to have continuity in his life’, he said. 

Italian prosecutors have opened and investigation into the alleged kidnapping. 

Simbari also voiced concerns over Peleg’s conviction for ‘physically abusing’ his wife and described the grandfather’s demands as ‘aggressive’. 

An Italian court had ordered Peleg to hand over Eitan’s Italian passport by August 30, but he had failed to do so, meaning border guards were warned not to let the child through. 

It makes it likely Eitan was flown out of Italy on a private jet, according to Simbari. 

He said his client hoped international treaties between Italy and Israel would see the bitter custody dispute resolved.   

Well-wishers put up a sign reading ‘a hug for little Eitan from all of us’ after he was orphaned in a tragic cable car crash and then allegedly kidnapped and taken from Italy to Israel

Peleg’s daughter and Eitan’s aunt Gali has hit back at claims the six-year-old was kidnapped, telling Israeli station Radio103FM: ‘We did not kidnap Eitan and we will not use that word.

‘We brought Eitan back home. Eitan shouted with emotion when he saw us and said: “Finally I am in Israel”. He kept on saying we are his true family.’

Gali Peleg added: ‘We had to do it after we received no information on his health of mental condition. 

‘If the judge had not scheduled meetings [with the child], we would not have seen him.’

Tal Peleg-Biran is pictured left with her sister Gali Peleg. Ms Peleg revealed in August her family would be taking legal action so Eitan could have a ‘normal’ life in Israel

It comes after she revealed in August her family would be taking legal action so he could have a ‘normal’ life in Israel. 

Mrs Peleg said at the time: ‘He was abducted by relatives who don’t know him at all and were not close to him in any way. The family there won’t take him to a park or out to eat, things we have done so he feels he has a family.’

She claimed her sister Tal Peleg-Biran, 26, valued Jewish and Israeli identity and this would be eroded while in Italy. 

Mrs Peleg added: ‘In a few years he’ll look back and see where he grew up and who his parents were, and it’s important to me that he sees that we were always there for him. He already lost one family and does not need to lose another.’

She added that her family had only been allowed to see the child briefly, claiming he ‘breaks into tears’ when she leaves. 

Biran-Nirko’s lawyers at the time called the allegations ‘surreal’, adding: ‘We sincerely cannot understand the reason for such acrimony and falsehood.’

Reports had earlier revealed that doctors believe the boy was suffering from post traumatic amnesia after tests ruled out any neurological damage.   

In a statement translated from Italian, doctors said: ‘Eitan’s conditions are significantly improving both from the point of view of thoracic trauma and from the point of view of abdominal trauma.’    

Source: Read Full Article