Rescuers have found body parts after searching for missing hikers after a powerful avalanche killed at least seven people in Italy.
Officials initially feared 13 hikers were still missing in the Marmolada Glacier before they crashed into the Dolomite Mountains, but after checking in with eight authorities, the province of Trento reduced the number to five.
Search operations were disrupted on Monday due to rainBut sunny weather on Tuesday allowed helicopters to move more rescue teams to the site – although hopes of finding anyone alive were fading.
A huge chunk of the glacier fell on Sunday, causing a snowstorm to cause a flood of ice, rocks and debris to descend to the edge of the hill that fell on undoubted hikers below.
Officials said At least seven people were killed.
Alex Baratin of the Alpine Rescue Service said: “We need to be clear that the possibility of finding someone alive through such an event is very remote, very remote, because the mechanical action of such snowfall has a huge impact on humans.” .
Photos taken during a helicopter survey of the site show an empty hole in the glacier.
The terrain remained so turbulent that rescue workers stood by and used drones to search for any survivors or signs of life while searching helicopters, using tools to detect the ping of some mobile phones.
More rescuers joined Tuesday morning, but two rescuers remained at the scene overnight.
Maurizio Delantonio, national president of the Alpine Rescue Service, said teams found body parts, hiking equipment and clothing on top of the wreckage, evidence of the strong impact of the snow.
“We’ve recovered a lot of pieces in the last two days. It’s very painful for those who picked them up. And then for those who need to be analyzed,” he said.
“Personally I can only imagine that what we get on the surface will be the same as what we get at the bottom, when the ice melts, or digs, if there is a chance.”
Authorities have closed all access to the glacier and chair lifts to hikers for fear of continued unrest and possible further ice breaks.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who visited the rescue base in Canaizi on Monday, acknowledged that the snowfall was predictable but that the tragedy “certainly depends on the deterioration of the climate.”
Italy is currently experiencing early summer heatwave with the worst drought in the north in 70 years. Experts say there is an unusually small amount of snow in the winter, which exposes and melts the glaciers of the Italian Alps in the summer heat.