Alpine glacier chunk detaches, and sends deadly ice-chunks the size of buildings down a mountain.
A large chunk of an Alpine glacier broke loose Sunday afternoon and roared down a mountainside in Italy, killing at least eight and injuring eight more, authorities said. The glacier is the largest in the Dolomite mountains and has been rapidly melting away in recent years.
Authorities were still checking license plates in the parking lot to determine how many people might be unaccounted for when the ice avalanche struck, and two of the eight hospitalized survivors were in grave condition, according to Milan hospital authorities.
The National Alpine and Cave Rescue Corps said at least five helicopters and rescue dogs were involved in the search for victims or missing after an avalanche hit a section of the Marmolada peak. A light rain began to fall in the early evening.
The intense heat wave gripping Italy since late June could be a factor in the partial collapse of the Marmolada glacier, but it’s not clear what caused the ice to break away and rush down the peak’s slope.
The trail the hikers were on is popular with the local population and tourists alike. The effort to make sure all the missing are accounted for is still under way.
Video of the wall of rock and ice was captured and shared on social media.
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