TRENTO, Italy: Record warm temperatures caused a mountain glacier in the Italian Alps to collapse on July 3, killing at least six people and injuring eight, local authorities reported.
The avalanche happened on the highest mountain in the Dolomites, the Marmolada, which is more than 3,300 meters in height and located in the eastern Italian Alps, straddling the regions of Trento and Veneto.
Rescue operations were in progress after a large “ice avalanche” struck hikers, the Trento provincial government said.
Luca Zaia, president of Veneto, said the injured were taken to hospitals in the nearby towns of Belluno, Treviso, Trento and Bolzano.
The Alpine rescue unit said the collapse happened close to Punta Rocca, along a route usually used by hikers and climbers to reach the summit.
“Fortunately, the weather conditions are good, but the danger is that there could be further collapses,” a spokesperson said.
According to Zaia, an early summer heatwave witnessed temperatures of 50 degrees Fahrenheit on the Marmolada.
Rising average temperatures over recent decades have caused the Marmolada glacier, along with many others around the world, to shrink.