- Of the hospitalized survivors, two were in grave condition
- Experts say the glacier won’t exist anymore in the next 25-30 years
- The Mediterranean basin has been identified by UN experts as a “climate change hot spot"
Italy glacier collapse: At least six hikers were killed, while nine others were injured after a large chunk of an Alpine glacier broke loose Sunday and roared down a mountain in Italy. The incident sent ice, snow and rock slamming into hikers on a popular trail on the peak. The authorities said the death toll may rise, adding, that nearly 15 people could be missing.
Of the hospitalized survivors, two were in grave condition, authorities said.
Rescuers were checking license plates in the parking lot as part of checks to determine how many people might be unaccounted for, a process that could take hours.
The glacier, in the Marmolada range, is the largest in the Dolomite mountains in northeastern Italy and people ski there in the winter. However, the glacier has been rapidly melting away in recent years.
Experts at Italy’s state-run CNR research center, which has a polar sciences institute, say the glacier won’t exist anymore in the next 25-30 years and much of its volume is already gone.
The Mediterranean basin, shared by southern Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, has been identified by UN experts as a “climate change hot spot,” likely to suffer heat waves and water shortages, among other consequences.
The fast-moving avalanche “came down with a roar that could be heard at a great distance,″ local online media reported.
Rescuers said blocks of ice were continuing to tumble down.
It wasn’t immediately clear what caused the section of ice to break away and rush down the peak’s slope, but the intense heat wave gripping Italy since late June loomed as a possible factor.
(With inputs from AP)