“The government must take measures to ensure that an incident on the Marmolada Glacier is not repeated,” Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on Monday, as he arrived at the disaster site that is now a symbol of the dangers caused by global warming.
At least 26 individuals were caught in an avalanche on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. local time when a piece of the Marmolada, the highest peak in the Dolomites range, lost some of its glacier cover.
One day after the glacier’s peak reported a temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit), calamity struck. Given that parts of Italy have been suffering from the worst drought in 70 years, the collapse is being seen as one of the effects of global warming. Authorities said they didn’t know how many climbers were trapped when an Italian glacier yielded Sunday on the Marmolada, the highest mountain in Italy’s Dolomites.
Ice and rock thundered down its slope at about 300 km/hr, according to Maurizio Fugatti, head of the Province of Trento.
Record temperatures and a shift in the distribution of precipitation have caused the Po Pass, an important Italian river, to dry up in many localities, and some regions have issued drought emergency declarations in recent weeks.
Rescuers used heat tags to search for possible survivors, though the chances of finding them were “low-to-zero,” a spokesman for the region’s mountain rescue agency, Giorgio Gajer, said.
The disaster happened the day after a record 10 degrees Celsius degree was measured at the top of the glacier, the largest in the Italian Alps.
A physical search was not feasible Monday at the scene of the accident due to concerns that the glacier could remain unstable, and helicopters were sometimes unable to fly because of bad weather conditions.
Altamiento is covered by mountains rescue images of rescuers, parachuted over by helicopters to reach the villages of Canazei not far from where the cable car will take you to the top of this valley, nicknamed “Queen of the Dolomites.”