SHARE
COPY LINK

ITALIAN ALPS

UPDATE: Six dead after glacier collapses in Italian Alps

An avalanche sparked by the collapse of the largest glacier in the Italian Alps killed at least six people and injured eight others on Sunday, an emergency services spokeswoman said.

UPDATE: Six dead after glacier collapses in Italian Alps
Italian air helicopters rescuers (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

The glacier collapsed on the mountain of Marmolada, the highest in the Italian Dolomites, near the hamlet of Punta Rocca, on the route normally taken to reach its summit.

The disaster struck one day after a record-high temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded at the glacier’s summit.

“An avalanche of snow, ice and rock hit an access path at a time when there were several roped parties, some of whom were swept away,” emergency services spokeswoman Michela Canova told AFP.

Six people had been confirmed dead and eight were injured, she added.

Two of the injured were taken to hospital in Belluno, another in a more serious condition was taken to Treviso and five to Trento.

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

She did not specify the nationalities of the victims, but Italian media reported that foreign nationals were among them.

Helicopters were scrambled to take part in the rescue and to monitor the situation from the air. Rescuers in the nearby Veneto region of northeast Italy said they had deployed all their Alpine teams, including sniffer dogs.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed his “sincerest condolences” to the victims and their families on Twitter.

Images filmed from a refuge close to the incident show snow and rock hurtling down the mountain’s slopes and causing a thunderous noise.

Other footage shot by tourists on their mobile phones showed the greyish avalanche sweep away everything in its path.

The mountain rescue team released images showing rescuers and helicopters at the scene to take victims from the valley to the village of Canazei.

Their task was made harder because the bodies were trapped under a layer of ice and rock.

A team of psychologists was on hand to support relatives of the victims.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

HEATWAVE

Italy reports a surge in deaths this summer due to extreme heat

A series of intense heatwaves caused Italy's mortality rate to spike in June and July, according to a health ministry report.

Italy reports a surge in deaths this summer due to extreme heat

Italy’s heat-related mortality rate was 21 percent above the seasonal average for the first two weeks of July, the health ministry said in a bulletin published on Monday.

There were 733 more deaths in 33 major Italian cities monitored by health authorities between July 1st and July 15th than in a typical year – a 21 percent increase on the average for that period.

READ ALSO: Will summer 2022 be Italy’s hottest ever?

Some central-southern parts of the country, where the heat has been particularly concentrated, experienced a far sharper spike in the death rate: by up to 72 percent in Latina and 56 percent in Viterbo (respectively south and north of Rome); 56 percent in Bari (Puglia); 51 percent in Cagliari (Sardinia); and 48 percent in Catanzaro (Calabria).

June also saw more deaths than in a typical year in Italy, the numbers show: a nine percent increase on seasonal averages over the course of the month.

“This first analysis shows that the high temperatures and heat waves that affected our country in June and in the first two weeks of July were associated with an increase in mortality, especially in the central-southern regions most affected by intensity and duration of the phenomenon,” the ministry’s bulletin reads.

Italy, along with much of the rest of mainland Europe, has been battered by a series of heatwaves this summer that have fuelled forest fires and drained rivers.

The Po Valley in the north of the Italy, one of country’s most important agricultural areas, is currently experiencing its worst drought in 70 years, decimating the risotto rice farms that make up much of the area.

Average temperatures of between two and three degrees above the seasonal average were consistently recorded across the country between May and June, with spikes of up to 10 degrees in some areas.

Similar highs are forecast for August, with warnings from meteorologists that mercury levels could shoot up 10C or even 15C higher than the average for this month.

In July, factory workers across the Piedmont region went on strike after the sudden death of a worker at an automotive manufacturing plant was linked to heat exhaustion.

SHOW COMMENTS