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Officials in Italy say at least six people were killed on Sunday after the collapse of a glacier in Italy’s northern Alps caused an avalanche.

During the avalanche, eight others were injured and two of them sustained serious injuries, according to the BBC.

Helicopters and rescuers were sent to the crash site.

“Unfortunately, five people were found lifeless,” emergency services spokeswoman Michela Canoval told AFP, and said the number “remains a provisional count”.

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This image published on Sunday 3 July 2022 by the Italian National Corps of Alpine and Speleological Rescue shows the glacier in the Italian Alps near Trento, a large chunk of which has broken off, killing at least six hikers and injuring eight others. Mountain rescue officials, who provided that toll on Sunday evening, said it could take hours to determine if hikers may be missing. The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps tweeted that the search in the affected area of ​​the top of the Marmolada involved at least five helicopters and rescue dogs.
(National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps via AP)

“An avalanche of snow, ice and rock that hit the access road on its way when there were several ropes, some of which were swept away,” said Canova. “The final number of mountaineers involved is not yet known,” she added.

A rescuer, Luigi Felicetti, said that “We saw dead (people) and huge pieces of ice, rock.”

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This image published on Sunday 3 July 2022 by the Italian National Corps of Alpine and Speleological Rescue shows the glacier in the Italian Alps near Trento, a large chunk of which has broken off, killing at least six hikers and injuring eight others.  Mountain rescue officials, who provided that toll on Sunday evening, said it could take hours to determine if hikers may be missing.  The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps tweeted that the search in the affected area of ​​the top of the Marmolada involved at least five helicopters and rescue dogs.

This image published on Sunday 3 July 2022 by the Italian National Corps of Alpine and Speleological Rescue shows the glacier in the Italian Alps near Trento, a large chunk of which has broken off, killing at least six hikers and injuring eight others. Mountain rescue officials, who provided that toll on Sunday evening, said it could take hours to determine if hikers may be missing. The National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps tweeted that the search in the affected area of ​​the top of the Marmolada involved at least five helicopters and rescue dogs.
(National Alpine and Speleological Rescue Corps via AP)

The emergency service in the area of ​​the collapse said it was believed that 15 people were in the group that was hiking.

The cause of the collapse is not yet known, but a spokesman for the rescue services, Walter Milan, said the area of ​​the collapse has recently experienced high temperatures.

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“This is extreme heat,” Milan said. “Clearly it’s something abnormal.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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