At least six dead after glacier chunks hit hikers on Italian mountain | world news

At least six people hiking on a popular alpine trail in northeastern Italy were killed on Sunday when a large swath of glacier broke loose.

The pouring ice, snow and rock slammed into a group hiking in the Dolomites, killing six and injuring eight others, authorities said.

It could not be determined how many were in the area at the time or if anything was missing, a spokesman for Alpine’s National Rescue Corps said.

Walter Milan, the spokesman, said rescuers were now checking the license plates in the car park to find out how many people would be missing – a process that could take hours.

It was also not possible to list the nationalities or ages of the dead, Milan added. He said two of the eight in the hospital are in serious condition.

According to the National Alpine and Cave Rescue Corps, helicopters and rescue dogs were involved in the search around the Marmolada peak area.

The emergency service said 18 people who were above the area where the ice had struck will be evacuated by the Alpine rescue corps.

“The breaking away of a boulder created a crevasse, which involved about 15 people,” the emergency services said.

It was not immediately clear what caused the chunk of ice to break loose and descend the slope of the summit.

But the intense heat wave that has gripped Italy since late June could be a factor, Milan told RAI state television.

“The heat is unusual,” Milan said, noting that temperatures had crossed 10C at the peak in recent days.

“That’s extreme heat” for the peak, said Mr Milan. “It’s clearly something abnormal.”

Rescue services said the injured were flown to several hospitals in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions.

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