Italians blame global warming for the glacier collapse that killed at least six people and injured 15 (Watch Video)

Photo: AFP

Italy’s prime minister on Monday, JUly 4th, linked the collapse of the country’s biggest Alpine glacier to climate change, as hopes faded of finding further survivors from a disaster that killed at least seven people.

(AFP).- Eight people were injured and another 14 were reported missing, authorities said, cautioning that it was not clear how many climbers were caught when the glacier gave way on Sunday.

Ice and rock thundered down Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Italian Dolomites, at 300 kilometres an hour (185 miles per hour), according to the head of Trento province, Maurizio Fugatti.

Rescuers used thermal drones to seek heat from potential survivors, although chances of finding them were “slim to nothing”, the region’s Alpine Rescue Service head Giorgio Gajer told AGI news agency.

The bodies recovered so far were found “torn apart”, rescuer Gino Comelli said.

The disaster struck one day after a record-high temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded at the summit of the glacier, the largest in the Italian Alps.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said it was “without doubt linked to the deterioration of the environment and the climate situation”.

Alpine Rescue spokeswoman Michela Canova told AFP an “avalanche of snow, ice and rock” hit an access path at a time when there were several roped parties, “some of whom were swept away”.

– ‘Heard a roar’ –

She said the total number of climbers involved was “not yet known”.

The civil protection agency said there were four cars at base camp unaccounted for: two Czech, one German and one Hungarian.

“I heard a roar, I turned to my left and saw a mass of ice coming down from the mountain,” ski instructor Luca Medici, 54, told AFP.