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Rescuers collect body parts after Italian glacier collapse

#Rescuers #collect #body #parts #Italian #glacier #collapse

Rescue services at the scene of a deadly avalanche in Italy’s Dolomites recovered as many body parts as they could on Tuesday, with the dangers of venturing beneath the partially collapsed glacier slowing the search.

Rescue teams dispatched helicopters and drones for a second day after Sunday’s disaster that killed at least seven hikers when part of the country’s largest Alpine glacier gave way and ice and rock tumbled down the mountain.

Italy has blamed climate change for the collapse, and fears more glaciers could crash have prevented access to much of the area where hikers, some linked with ropes, are believed to be buried.

Authorities have reported 14 missing but stressed that the exact number of climbers at the scene when the avalanche struck was unknown.

“Operations on the ground will only be carried out to recover remains detected by the drones, to ensure the safety of rescuers,” Trentino Alpine Rescue Service said on Tuesday.

Experts were surveying the area to determine how best to allow teams of sniffer dogs to safely enter the site on Wednesday or Thursday, the service’s national head, Maurizio Dellantonio, told news agency AGI.

Relatives of people reported missing gathered in the town of Canazei, where recovered remains were placed in a makeshift morgue in a gymnasium.

“The important finds, not just bones, are first photographed, then recovered and put on a helicopter” and flown to Canazei to be “cataloged and cold-stored,” Dellantonio said.

Such finds included “bones that have not been peeled off, a piece of hand with a ring, tattoos, anything that can allow an individual to be identified”, including shoes, backpacks and ice axes.

– Last selfie –

The disaster came a day after a record high of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded on the summit of Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Italian Dolomites.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Monday the collapse was certainly “linked to the worsening of the environmental and climate situation”.

One of the recovered bodies belonged to a Czech who was traveling with a friend who was registered as missing, the Czech Foreign Ministry told the AFP news agency.

Also missing, according to Italian media reports, was Filippo Bari, 27, who snapped a grinning selfie of himself on the mountain the previous Sunday and sent it to family and friends with the words, “Look where I am!”

Bari, who has a four-year-old son, has not responded to repeated attempts to contact him, nor have the five friends he is said to have been hiking with, the Corriere della Sera said.

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

Nicknamed the “Queen of the Dolomites,” the glacier feeds the Avisio River and overlooks Lake Fedaia in the autonomous Italian province of Trento.

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.

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