A baby survived a 100ft fall from a cable car – which killed her parents – by landing in a tree.
Rescuers heard murmurings in bushes and found the one-year-old in a baby carrier rucksack.
The accident killed both her parents but the one-year-old orphan is expected to survive serious injuries.
The child’s mother, 31, and father, 38, took the cable car – intended for freight use – to descend 2,700ft up the Baerlaui Alp, Switzerland, during a trek.
A major investigation into why the family were using the cable car designed only for freight is now under way and one mountain worker is under arrest.
Suddenly, just after starting, there was a sudden lurch which tipped all three out on to rocks nearly 100 feet below.
Mother and father died instantly from head wounds but rescuers heard whimpering from a rucksack and it was the baby, severely hurt but alive.
‘The rucksack cushioned the fall,’ said a rescue spokesman. ‘Otherwise she would be dead too.’
Two dozen rescue crews using helicopters and all-terrain vehicles were on the scene within 30 minutes of the crash.
Authorities said the man – a Swiss native who lived with his Canadian wife abroad – had returned with his family for a holiday in the region.
But Florian Grossmann, spokesman for the local police, said; ‘The cable-car is not for passenger use. It is a freight vehicle that was being used on the day of the accident by an employee of the area.
‘We are investigating how they came to be aboard and why.’
The family group plunged to disaster near the Waegitaler Lake. Police spokesman Grossmann said the Alpine worker was arrested for making ‘contradictory statements’ to the police at the scene.
It is understood he is the man who illegally allowed the family to use the freight lift.
The bodies of the parents were flown to a local morgue, the child to a hospital where nurses and doctors have nicknamed her Eidelweiss – after the hardy mountain flower which only survives in the harshest of regions.
The police spokesman added; ‘The child is out of danger and we are contacting relatives of the dead abroad. We have no cause as yet as to why the cable car halted and then suddenly tipped over.
‘But it was not designed for passenger use, that much is certain.’