In the Italian Alps, several people have been killed after being caught in an avalanche of debris that was started by a piece of collapsing ice from the Marmolada Glacier. Emergency officials said over a dozen people are still missing.
Monday’s search efforts were thwarted by Thunderstorms, as officials put the known death toll at seven. “I hope the numbers stop here,” said Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia, whose region borders the Dolomites including the Marmolada Glacier.
Maurizio Fugatti of the Trentino-Alto Adige Alpine region, said that by Monday afternoon 14 people remained unaccounted for: 10 Italians, three from the Czech Republic and one from Austria. “We were contacted by families because these people didn’t return home.”
Officials at a news conference in the resort town of Canazei said there were eight injured survivors, including two in the hospital. Italian Premier Mario Draghi expressed “the most sincere, affectionate, heartfelt closeness” to the families.
Walter Milan, a rescue service spokesperson, said area has been experiencing unusually high temperatures. The detached portion of glacier was estimated at 200 metres wide, 80 metres tall and 60 metres deep. Zaia said it was similar to “apartment building sized blocks of ice with debris and Cyclopean masses of rock.”
Legendary climber Reinhold Messner told La Republica newspaper that the glacier has been receding for several years due to the impact of global warming. “There is hardly any ice left,” Messner said.