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9 confirmed dead in Italian glacier collapse amid ongoing search for missing hikers

Two more people were found dead in the Italian Alps, while searching for victims last weekend Fatal avalanche It lasted four days after the disaster. The bodies found on Wednesday brought the number of confirmed dead to nine, according to the statement government officials.

Record heat in the Dolomites in northern Italy caused a portion of a glacier to break off from Marmolada, the highest peak in the range, and collapse onto the ground below on Sunday afternoon. Authorities were able to identify the two additional victims on Wednesday by using drones to inspect debris left by the avalanche.

Search and rescue teams were originally tasked with locating more than ten people Lost hikers I faced big challenges this week.

Helicopters and dogs were initially used to help rescuers survey the area, but concerns about the potentially unstable condition of the glacier limited the search effort.

The search will resume Thursday morning with rescue teams on the ground backed by helicopters that will be prepared to airlift teams from the mountain range if the environment becomes too dangerous, Maurizio Dilantonio, head of the National Alpine Rescue Service, said on Wednesday. Evening press conference. Dilantonio said the movement of the glacier is constantly monitored.

Eight hikers have been rescued since Sunday, but authorities have been unable to establish the fate of at least three others whose loved ones previously reported missing. Of the nine victims killed in the avalanche, four victims have been identified by family members while five remain unidentified, according to Trentino Autonomous Province chief Maurizio Fogatti. A rescuer told AFP earlier this week that identifying the dead would likely be difficult due to the extensive damage caused by the impact of the avalanche.

While experts said that such an ice breakup is the case rare and unexpectedThey also believe that the effects of climate change and the observed patterns of unusual warmth and drought across Italy could make it more frequent.

“So we are in the worst conditions for a breakup of this kind, when there is a lot of heat and a lot of running water at the base,” said Renato Colucci, who works at the Polar Sciences Institute at the Italian National Research Council. Associated Press. “We have not yet been able to understand if it was a deep or superficial break, but it does appear to be quite large, based on the initial images and information received.”

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