Rescue teams scan mountains for missing people after Italy’s glacier collapsed

CANAZEI, Italy, July 4 (Reuters) – Helicopter crews and drones flew over the Italian Alps on Monday searching for 13 missing people after part of a mountain glacier collapsed, killing at least seven people in a disaster experts have linked with rising temperatures in connected.

Much of Italy has suffered in an early summer heatwave, and scientists said climate change is making it harder to predict previously stable glaciers. Continue reading

Sunday’s avalanche occurred on the Marmolada, which at more than 3,300 meters is the highest peak in the Dolomites, a mountain range in the eastern Italian Alps that stretches across the Trento and Veneto regions.

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said the disaster was linked to environmental factors.

“Today Italy is crying for these victims,” ​​Draghi said while visiting a meeting with rescue teams.

“But the government needs to think about what happened and take action to ensure that what happened is unlikely to happen again or can even be avoided,” he added.

Seven people were killed and two of the eight injured are in serious condition, said Maurizio Fugatti, president of the Trento region.

The summit of Punta Rocca is seen after parts of the Marmolada glacier in the Italian Alps collapsed amid record temperatures, killing at least six people and injuring several, on the Marmolada ridge, Italy July 4, 2022. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic

Among the missing were three people from the Czech Republic. An Austrian tourist who had previously been reported missing has now been located, local authorities said.

“This is the first such accident in the history of the mountain,” said Gino Comelli, who helped coordinate the rescue effort.

The summit is too unstable for rescuers to approach on foot, Comelli said, adding that recent hot weather has been a factor in the collapse.

Pope Francis said he prayed for the victims and their families.

“The tragedies we are witnessing with climate change should urgently compel us to find new ways that respect people and nature,” he said on Twitter.

Rising average temperatures have meant that the Marmolada Glacier, like many others around the world, has steadily shrunk in recent decades.

“The collapse of the Marmolada glacier is a natural disaster directly related to climate change,” said Poul Christoffersen, professor of glaciology at the University of Cambridge.

“High-altitude glaciers like the Marmolada are often steep and rely on cold sub-zero temperatures to keep them stable,” he added.

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Additional reporting by Emilio Parodi and Angelo Amante; writing by Giulia Segreti and Keith Weir; Adaptation by Janet Lawrence

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