Six people are confirmed dead and up to 20 others are missing after a glacier collapsed on Sunday sending a barrage of ice, water and rocks down the side of a popular hiking mountain in Italy.
The disaster on the 3,343-metre Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites, occurred after a period of prolonged heat. Records show the temperature at the summit has remained mostly above freezing since May.
On Sunday evening, the National Alpine and Caving Rescue Corps confirmed the provisional death toll in a Tweeter. The ANSA news agency reported that up to 20 other people were missing. Nine people are injured.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi went there Monday morning to assess the damage.
A statement from Palazzo Chigi said Draghi expressed “his deepest condolences to the victims of the terrible collapse of the Marmolada. The government is close to their families and to all those injured.”
A rescue effort is underway, although the instability of the ice sheet above meant it was dangerous to work in the area below the glacier.
The Trento prosecutor’s office opened a case into the collapse, ANSA said, to determine whether official negligence led to the hikers’ deaths.