Italian state television RAI said the death toll was six, but that death toll could not be immediately confirmed. It was not immediately known how many hikers might be missing.
The National Alpine and Cave Rescue Corps tweeted that at least five helicopters and rescue dogs were involved in the search in the affected area of the Marmolada peak.
“Among the people hit by the detachment of the serac, there are five dead,” the rescue service tweeted, referring to a technical term for a glacier peak. “There are eight injured, two of them in serious condition.”
The SUEM dispatch service, based in the nearby Veneto region, said 18 people who were above the area where the ice struck are being evacuated by the Alpine Rescue Corps.
The avalanche consisted of a “rainfall of snow, ice and rock,” said the control center.
At around 3,300 meters, the Marmolada is the highest peak in the eastern Dolomites.
“A rock fall provoked the opening of a crevasse involving about 15 people, the emergency dispatcher tweeted.
The Alpine Rescue Service said in a tweet that the segment broke off near Punta Rocca (Rock Point), “along the route normally used to reach the summit.”
It was not immediately clear what caused the section of ice to detach and fall down the slope of the summit. But the intense heatwave that’s been sweeping Italy since late June could be a factor, Walter Milan, a spokesman for the Alpine Rescue Service, told state television RAI.
“The heat is unusual,” Milan said, noting that temperatures had exceeded 10°C (50°F) at the summit in recent days. “This is extreme heat” for the summit, Milan said. “It’s definitely something abnormal.”
According to the rescue services, the injured were flown to several hospitals in the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions.
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https://abc13.com/italy-alpine-glacier-break-collapse-rime/12014467/ Italy Alpine glacier rupture 6 dead, 8 injured, a dozen missing