Italy: Heat-Caused Alps Glacier Collapse Kills 10 – Updated Toll
Rome – The death toll from Sunday’s collapse of a huge block of the Marmolada glacier, the highest peak in the Italian Alps, has risen to ten, after the discovery of new bodies, local authorities announced.
“The number of confirmed victims rises to ten,” announced the autonomous province of Trentino (north) in a statement, stating that “at this stage, six of the ten confirmed victims, including four Italian nationals and two Czechs, have been identified.
A team of 14 rescuers accompanied by two dogs went in the morning on the site of the tragedy, forbidden access since Sunday. “During their search, they found organic material and objects. Everything was recovered, transported to the valley and will be analyzed,” said the province in a statement.
The glacier had been weakened by global warming, as well as by record temperatures recorded this year in Italy, 10°C at the summit of the Marmolada the day before the disaster. The high temperatures have accelerated its melting and water has accumulated under the ice cap, making it unstable.
The Prosecutor’s Office of Trento has opened an investigation to determine the causes of the tragedy due to the detachment of a serac that caused an avalanche of ice and rocks, which swept away several rope parties making the ascent of this glacier, the highest peak of the Dolomites culminating at over 3,300 meters.
According to the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published on March 1, the melting of ice and snow is one of the ten major threats caused by global warming, disrupting ecosystems and threatening some infrastructure.