Update, Vienna: Heat System Caused Cable Car Fire

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Nando Times

Heat system caused cable car fire that killed 155, newspaper reports

The Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria (January 30, 2001 2:30 p.m. EST http://www.nandotimes.com) - The fire that killed 155 people trapped in a cable car late last year reportedly originated in the heating system.

The weekly Profil cited in a report published Monday a member of the panel of experts investigating the cause of the tragedy as blaming the heating system. The person did not want to be identified.

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 Nov. 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 and the Czech Republic. It was the worst accident of its kind on record.

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.

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), January 31, 2001

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