A huge block broke off from the Marmolada glacier in the northern Italian Alps on Sunday July 3, killing at least five people and injuring eight, emergency services said.
A relief spokeswoman, Michela Canova, spoke to Agence France-Presse about a “still provisional assessment”.
Two injured were taken to hospital in Belluno, a more serious one in Treviso, and five in Trento, she said, without giving details of the nationality of the victims. Several helicopters were deployed on the spot to take part in the rescue operations and to monitor the situation.
According to the civil protection department of the nearby Veneto region, “all the alpine rescue teams in the area have been mobilized”, including canine units.
The glacier collapsed near the locality of Punta Rocca, along the route normally taken to reach its summit. “An avalanche of snow, ice and rock which, in its path, hit the access road when several ropes were there, some of which were swept away, explained Ms. Canova. The final number of climbers involved is not yet known. »
Footage filmed from a shelter near the disaster shows snow mixed with rock rolling down the slopes of the mountain in a crashing noise. Other images taken by tourists on their cellphones show from afar the grayish tongue of the avalanche carrying everything in its path.
This collapse of the glacier occurred the day after a record temperature reached at the top of the glacier: ten degrees. According to experts quoted by the daily Il Corriere della Sera, new ice collapses are to be feared.
The Marmolada glacier is the largest glacier in the Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy that is part of the Alps. Located in the Autonomous Province of Trento, it gives birth to the Avisio River and overlooks Lake Fedaia.
According to the IPCC report published on March 1, the melting of ice and snow is one of the ten major threats caused by global warming, disrupting ecosystems and threatening certain infrastructures.