“We heard a loud noise, typical of a landslide, then we saw it go down quickly a kind of avalanche made up of snow and ice“.
A person in charge of the Castiglioni Marmolada Refuge retraced the tragedy of yesterday afternoon when, while the hikers were crossing the path that leads to the summit of the Marmolada, the normal route, a huge ice sword broke off and overwhelmed them, killing six and wounding eight. From the count of parked cars, it is estimated that about fifteen are missing. «We quickly realized that something serious had happened. With the binoculars from here you can see the break, it is likely that something will come off again ».
So far they have been 4 victims identified: three Italians and a man of Czech nationality. A man and a woman remain to be identified. Among the missing are Italians, Germans, Czechs and Romanians.
The six bodies recovered were taken to the Canazei ice stadium, while the eight injured (including a foreign woman and man) were transported to the hospitals of Belluno, Treviso and Trento. Eighteen people who were above the area of the collapse were evacuated by the mountain rescue of Veneto and Trentino.
At the time of the detachment of the rock, there were four ropes of hikers engaged in what is a routine route. Fortunately, many were having lunch at that time: they were still in the shelters. “The first witnesses spoke four ropes, two at the top, on the normal route, and two below », explained Walter Cainelli, number one of the Alpine Rescue of Trentino. “But we don’t know exactly how many people they were made up of and we have to rely on assumptions. There are blocks of ice ranging from twenty centimeters to half a meter and it is unlikely that there will be any survivors ».
The detachment of a rock caused the opening of a crevasse on the Pian dei Fiacconi glacier. The serac broke in two places and the the collapse generated a flow of ice debris on a front of about three hundred meters. The material fell at a speed of 300 kilometers per hour, as confirmed by the technicians of the Alpine Rescue.
The part of the glacier that broke away “had been there for hundreds of years, it is an extraordinary event”, as explained by the president of the Alpine Rescue Maurizio Dellantonio. “From an immediate inspection we realized that there is a danger upstream of the glacier as the ice cap has detached, but a piece remained in the balancewhich is not a small piece, but we are talking about hundreds and hundreds of cubic meters of ice ».
The part of the glacier still attached to the mountain, according to the technicians, is an ice front of 200 meters, 60 meters high and 80 meters deep: the equivalent of two football fields of ice. At a 45-degree slope. The material that has detached is instead extended on a front of two kilometers on the normal route.
The day before the tragedy, on the summit the record temperature of 10 degrees was recorded. The prosecutor of Trento has opened a file hypothesizing the culpable disaster against unknown persons.
Source: Vanity Fair