No fewer than six people have been confirmed dead while eight others were left with varying degrees of injuries after parts of a mountain glacier collapsed in Italy.
The avalanche was said to have taken place on the Marmolada, which at more than 3,300 metres is the highest mountain in the Dolomites, a range in the eastern Italian Alps straddling the regions of Trento and Veneto.
Confirming the incident, the Trento provincial government said that rescue operations were in progress after a large ice avalanche involving hikers and that there was likely to be a heavy toll.
The president of Veneto, Luca Zaia said that injured people were taken to hospitals in the nearby towns of Belluno, Treviso, Trento and Bolzano.
Also, the Alpine rescue unit said that huge mass of ice collapsed close to Punta Rocca, on the route usually used by hikers and climbers to reach the summit.
“Fortunately the weather conditions are good but the danger is that there could be further collapses,”
As gathered, helicopters and dogs were said to have being used to try to find survivors. An early summer heatwave in Italy saw temperatures on the Marmolada touch 10 degrees Celsius (50 Fahrenheit) on Saturday.
Rising average temperatures was said to have caused the Marmolada glacier, like many others around the world, to shrink steadily over recent decades.