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Alpine glacier collapses in Italy killing at least five people

Alpine glacier collapses in Italy killing at least five people
A glacier collapsed in the Italian alps on Sunday killing at least five people and injuring eight others on a popular hiking trail below, officials said. Photo courtesy SUEM Venuto/Twitter

July 3 (UPI) -- A glacier collapsed in the Italian alps on Sunday, killing at least five people and injuring eight others on a popular hiking trail below, officials said.

The Emergency Medical Service office in the Veneto region said in a statement that two of those who were injured remain in serious condition. Those who were injured were taken to area hospitals.

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Another 18 people trapped above the collapse will be evacuated by rescuers, SUEM said in its statement.

The National Alpine and Cave Rescue Corps said in a statement that the glacier broke loose on Marmolada, a mountain with an elevation of about 11,000 feet and the highest peak in the Dolomite Alps.

The collapse happened along the ascent route of the normal route to reach the summit, CNAS said. All rescue stations in the area were activated and at least five helicopters and dog units were deployed to aid in the search and rescue efforts.

SUEM said that a rock had detached causing the opening of a crevasse on the glacier, though the cause of the collapse remains unknown.

Italian state news agency RAI reported that temperatures at the peak had reached about 50 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, which is considered a record-high temperature.

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