Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Italy: Several dead in Alps glacier collapse

Rescuers said about 15 hikers were believed to have been in area when the glacier collapsed

Rescuers said about 15 hikers were believed to have been in area when the glacier collapsed

At least five people were killed Sunday when a glacier ruptured in the Italian Alps, local rescue services confirmed.

Eight people were injured during the accident on the Marmolada peak of the eastern Dolomites, according to Italian state television RAI.

Local media described how masses of ice, snow and debris slid down the mountain before hitting the hikers.

"Unfortunately, five people were found lifeless," emergency services spokeswoman Michela Canova told Agence France-Presse, saying that the injured figure "remains a provisional count."

Those hurt, including a person in critical condition, were taken to several hospitals in the regions of Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto, according to rescue officials.

It said at least five helicopters and rescue dogs were deployed during the search.

15 hikers nearby during collapse

Emergency dispatchers in northeast Italy tweeted that about 15 hikers
were believed to have been in the area at the time of the collapse.

The Alpine rescue service said in a tweet that a segment of glacier broke off near Punta Rocca (Rock Point), "along the itinerary normally used to reach the peak."

The piece is known as a serac, or pinnacle of a glacier.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the ice segment to break away and rush down the peak's slope.

However, the intense heat wave gripping Italy since late June could be a factor, Walter Milan, an Alpine rescue service spokesperson told state TV.

Marmolada, towering about 3,300 meters (about 11,000 feet), is the highest peak in the eastern Dolomites.

This is a breaking news story and will be updated shortly.

mm/rs (dpa, AFP, AP)