Six dead in avalanche as shards of glacier fall hours after Alpine peak hits record temperature

Six dead and ten missing in an avalanche in the Italian Alps as glacial shards fall just hours after hitting a record 50F

  • A group of tourists are hit by falling shards of glacial ice as the summit reaches record heat
  • Six dead and eight injured in a shocking accident on the Dolomite peak of Marmolada
  • Ten are still missing, five helicopters and dog units are combing the mountain
  • The risk of further collapses remains, Alpine Rescue officials confirmed
  • An eyewitness said: “We heard a very loud noise, then we saw snow and ice.”

At least six were killed when an avalanche in the Italian Alps hurled chunks of melting glacier towards a group of tourists today.

Ten people were also injured in the accident at Punta Rocca on the Dolomite peak of Marmolada in north-eastern Italy.

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Around 15 people were hit by the falling ice, according to Alpine Rescue.

On Saturday, the mountain recorded a record temperature of ten degrees.

A photo handed out by the Alpine rescue service shows pieces of ice falling from the summit of the Alps

A photo handed out by the Alpine rescue service shows pieces of ice falling from the summit of the Alps

The intense heat wave in Italy since the end of June could also be a factor, Alpine rescue spokesman Walter Milan told state television.

Five helicopters and dog units were dispatched to the area to search for survivors, according to Italian newspaper La Repubblica.

An eyewitness told the newspaper: “We heard a very loud noise, then we saw the snow and ice avalanche.”

Hours after the summit reached record temperatures, plumes of mountain ice fell from the mountain

Hours after the summit reached record temperatures, plumes of mountain ice fell from the mountain

Hours after the summit reached record temperatures, plumes of mountain ice fell from the mountain

The Marmolada is the highest peak in the Dolomites (pictured), a southern section of the Alps

The Marmolada is the highest peak in the Dolomites (pictured), a southern section of the Alps

The Marmolada is the highest peak in the Dolomites (pictured), a southern section of the Alps

The mountain range is known for its sharp edges and steep slopes - with rising temperatures

The mountain range is known for its sharp edges and steep slopes - with rising temperatures

The mountain range is known for its sharp edges and steep slopes – with rising temperatures

Mountain rescuers have been activated.

Tourist Reinhold Messner added: “The ice there is almost gone, there is none.

“These seracs naturally fall due to gravity, but the real cause is global warming, which is melting glaciers and making a serac more likely to detach.”

At 3,343 m, the Marmolada is the highest mountain in the Dolomites.

Regional Councilor for Civil Protection Gianpaolo Bottacin said: “I am in contact with the Head of the Civil Protection Department, Fabrizio Curcio, to keep him informed and with the Head of the Alpine Rescue Delegation, Alex Barattin.

“For the Venetian side, the 2 Ulss of Belluno Suem 118 helicopters are already operational.

“Also one of the helicopters of the Veneto Region Civil Protection to transport mountain rescue teams with dog units to the site.

“All mountain rescue teams in the area are activated. The first injured have already been recovered.”

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