Glacier chunk strikes hikers climbing within the Dolomites: At the least seven lifeless and 14 lacking on Italian mountain | World Information


At least seven people hiking a popular Alpine hiking trail in north-east Italy were killed on Sunday when a large chunk of the glacier broke loose.

For the latest on this story as the search for the missing continues, click or tap here.

The avalanche of ice, snow and rock smashed into a group hiking in the Dolomites, leaving eight others injured, including two in serious condition, according to authorities.

Regional director Maurizio Fugatti said 14 remained missing: 10 Italians, three from the Czech Republic and one from Austria. But thunderstorms have hampered the search for them.

The image of the Alpine Rescue Service shows where an ice glacier collapsed on hikers

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the avalanche was linked to climate change.

He expressed “the most sincere, loving and heartfelt closeness” to the families of the victims and called for action to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.

“This is a drama that certainly has some unpredictability,” Mr Draghi said, echoing several experts who said an avalanche triggered by the rupture of a glacier could not be predicted.

But what happened “certainly depends on the environmental destruction and the climate situation,” said the prime minister.

Emergency services said the injured were flown to several hospitals in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions.

Venetian Governor Luca Zaia said there were two Germans and a 40-year-old patient in the hospital who have yet to be identified.

According to the National Alpine and Cave Rescue Corps, helicopters and rescue dogs were involved in the search in the Marmolada peak area.

At over 3,300 m, the Marmolada is the highest peak in the Dolomites.

It was not immediately clear what caused the section of ice to detach and fall down the slope of the summit.

However, the intense heatwave that has been sweeping Italy since late June could be a factor, Mr Milan told state television RAI.

“The heat is unusual,” Mr Milan said, noting that temperatures had surpassed 10C in recent days at the summit.

“This is extreme heat” for the summit, Mr Milan said. “It’s definitely something abnormal.”

Glacier Collapse Another climate change warning is hitting the planet now

The collapse of the Marmolada glacier is a natural hazard, which in this case is directly related to climate change – climate scientists say.

How can you be so sure?

The steep section of the Marmolada that gave way relies on sub-zero temperatures to keep it stable.

Hotter temperatures caused by human-caused climate change are melting ice into water, causing instability and collapses.

Glaciers around the world are now melting at an unprecedented rate and will likely continue to shrink well into the 22nd century.

Scorching heat has already tormented northern Italy this summer. Temperatures around the Marmolada recently reached a staggering 10ºC and many other areas set June or all-time heat records.

The Mediterranean country is also suffering from one of its worst droughts in decades, prompting water rationing and raising fears of an agricultural “catastrophe”.

It is a net exporter of food, and its northern mountains and lakes attract visitors year-round.

The multiple impacts are a warning to anyone who believes the effects of climate change are distant in time or geography. You are here and now.