7 dead, 13 missing in Italy avalanche

CANAZEI, Italy — Thunderstorms on Monday complicated the search for more than a dozen hikers missing for a day after a huge section of an Alpine glacier in Italy broke off, sending an avalanche of ice, snow and rock down the slope. Officials put the known death toll at seven.

“I hope the numbers stop there,” said Venetian governor Luca Zaia, whose region of north-eastern Italy borders the Dolomite chain including the Marmolada glacier. He spoke in the resort of Canazei, where a mortuary was set up in the ice rink.

Another regional leader, Maurizio Fugatti, said 14 people were missing as of Monday afternoon: 10 Italians, three from the Czech Republic and one from Austria. Local officials later said that Austrian consular officials had been in contact with the Austrian.

“We have been contacted by families because these people have not returned home,” said Fugatti, from the Alpine region of Trentino-Alto Adige.

Four cars stopped in the parking lot of the mountain, the occupants of which were not found – two cars had Czech license plates; one vehicle came from Germany and the fourth from Hungary.

At least three of the dead were Italians, the authorities said. According to Italian news reports, one of the deceased was from the Czech Republic, better known in English as the Czech Republic.

One of the Italians was Filippo Bari, 28, who took a selfie with the Marmolada glacier in the background just minutes before the avalanche, his brother Andrea told state television in Canazei, where he came from to identify the body.

Although he’s an experienced mountain hiker, his brother said his family always told him to be careful in the mountains, “especially in these temperatures.” Partner and a 4 year old son, smiled. “He died doing what he loved.”

On Sunday, officials said nine people were injured, but on Monday they told reporters in Canazei that eight were injured, including two in serious condition.

Zaia said the hospital patients included two Germans and a 40-year-old patient who has yet to be identified.

The avalanche fell when dozens of hikers were walking, some of them roped.

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