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Thermal drones search for survivors after deadly glacier collapse in Italy – Top Stories News – Report by AFR

Rescuers used thermal drones on Monday to search for possible survivors trapped under ice after an avalanche triggered by the collapse of the largest glacier in the Italian Alps killed at least six people and injured eight others.

Authorities said they didn’t know how many climbers were hit when the glacier gave way on Sunday on Marmolada, the highest peak in Italy’s Dolomites.

“We found torn bodies in a shapeless tide of ice and debris stretching 1,000 meters,” Gino Comelli of the Alpine Rescue Service told Corriere della Sera on Monday.

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

Rescue service spokeswoman Michela Canova told AFP that an “avalanche of snow, ice and rocks” hit an access route when there were several roped parties, “some of which were swept away”.

The total number of climbers involved is “not yet known,” she said.

Helicopters and sniffer dogs were withdrawn as night fell and the glacier was feared it could still be unstable.

However, rescuers used drones equipped with thermal imaging cameras to continue the search overnight and into early Monday, Canazei Mayor Giovanni Bernard told AFP.

“It’s difficult for the rescuers in a dangerous situation,” he said.

Images of the avalanche, filmed from a nearby shelter, show snow and rocks cascading down the slopes of the mountain.

“It’s a miracle that we’re alive,” Stefano Dal Moro, an engineer who was traveling with his Israeli partner, told Corriere della Sera.

“There was a thump, then this sea of ​​ice came down. There’s no point in running, you can only pray it doesn’t get in your way.

“We crouched and hugged tightly as the ice rolled by.”

Bodies dug out of ice and rock were taken to the village of Canazei.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi was due to visit Canazei later on Monday.

Massimo Frezzotti, a science professor at Roma Tre University, told AFP the collapse was caused by unusually warm weather linked to global warming, with rainfall falling by 40 to 50 percent during a dry winter.

“Current glacier conditions correspond to mid-August, not early July,” he said.

The Trento Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation to determine the causes of the tragedy.

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