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Glacier collapses in Italian Alps, six dead: rescuers

#Glacier #collapses #Italian #Alps #dead #rescuers

An avalanche triggered by the collapse of the largest glacier in the Italian Alps killed at least six people and injured eight others on Sunday, a rescue service spokeswoman said.

The glacier collapsed on Mount Marmolada, the highest of the Italian Dolomites, near the hamlet of Punta Rocca, the path one usually takes to reach its summit.

The disaster came a day after a record temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was measured at the summit of the glacier.

“A snow, ice and rock avalanche hit an access route when there were several rope teams, some of which were swept away,” rescue service spokeswoman Michela Canova told AFP.

She said six people were dead and eight were injured.

Two of the injured were taken to the hospital in Belluno, another in a more serious condition to Treviso and five to Trento, she said.

“The total number of climbers involved is not yet known,” Canova added.

She did not provide any information on the nationalities of the victims.

Helicopters were dispatched to take part in the rescue operation and to monitor the situation from the air.

Rescuers in the nearby Veneto region of north-east Italy said they deployed all of their alpine teams, including sniffer dogs.

– Further burglaries feared –

Images filmed from a shelter near the incident show a mixture of snow and rock tumbling down the mountain’s slopes, making a thunderous noise.

Other footage, taken by tourists with their cellphones, showed the grisly avalanche sweeping away everything in its path.

Experts quoted by the daily Corriere della Sera said they feared more ice collapses.

Renato Colucci, a glacier specialist quoted by Italian agency AGI, added that the phenomenon “is sure to happen again” because “altitude temperatures in the Alps have been well above normal for weeks.”

The Marmolada Glacier is the largest in the Dolomites, which are part of the Italian Alps and lie on the north face of the Marmolada.

Located in the autonomous Italian province of Trento, the glacier feeds the Avisio River and overlooks Lake Fedaia.

According to a March report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), melting ice and snow is one of the top ten threats caused by global warming, disrupting ecosystems and infrastructure.

According to the IPCC, glaciers in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Caucasus could lose between 60 and 80 percent of their mass by the end of the century.

The traditional way of life of people like the Sami people of Finland’s Lapland who herd reindeer is already being affected.

Thawing permafrost is also hampering economic activity in Canada and Russia.

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#Glacier #collapses #Italian #Alps #dead #rescuers

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