Marmolada: Glacier avalanche kills six in Italian Alps

16 still missing after chunk of glacier collapses from Marmolada peak.

At least six people have been killed after part of a mountain glacier collapsed in the Italian Alps on Sunday, leaving nine injured and 16 missing.

The avalanche of snow, ice and rocks occurred on Marmolada, the highest mountain in the Dolomites, between the north Italian regions of Trento and Veneto.

Italy’s premier Mario Draghi sent his “deepest condolences” to the families of the victims, four of whom have been identified: three Italians and one Czech citizen.

A man and a woman have yet to be identified, according to news agency ANSA, which reports that the missing hikers include Italians, Germans, Czechs and Romanians.

The incident occurred amid unseasonably high temperatures in the mountains, which registered a record 10C on Saturday, with experts blaming global warming for the melting of the glacier.

Normally the temperature at this time of year on Marmolada, the tallest mountain in the Dolomites at 3,300 metres, would be below freezing.

Dramatic footage showed the collapse of the serac – the term for the pinnacle of the glacier – tumbling down the mountain at 300 km/h near the Punto Rocca hiking trail where mountaineers were climbing.

The Alpine Rescue has set up an emergency number to report any people missing from Marmolada.

The number – (0039) 0461/495272 – is active in Italian and English and must be used exclusively to report the non-return of friends and family.