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Five still missing after Marmolada glacier collapse

Investigators in Italy on Tuesday said that five people remained missing following an avalanche at the Marmolada glacier in the Italian alps. Photo by Andrea Solero/EPA-EFE
Investigators in Italy on Tuesday said that five people remained missing following an avalanche at the Marmolada glacier in the Italian alps. Photo by Andrea Solero/EPA-EFE

July 5 (UPI) -- Five people remained missing Tuesday after a glacier collapsed in Italy over the weekend.

A 30-year-old man who was being treated in a hospital in Treviso and two French mountaineers who narrowly escaped the avalanche at the Marmolada glacier in the Italian alps were no longer unaccounted for, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

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Rescuers continued their search efforts on Tuesday after they had been suspended due to heavy rain.

At least seven people were killed and eight more were injured after the massive ice chunk broke loose and slid down the mountain onto a popular hiking trail below on Sunday.

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The victims identified so far include Tommaso Carollo, 48, and Paolo Dani, an Alpine guide.

Some of the bodies can only be identified through DNA testing as a result of the nature of their deaths.

The Marmolada has lost more than 80% of its volume in the last 72 years with the decline moving rapidly within the past decade.

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Experts said a heat wave that has brought on unusually high temperatures for the start of summer and an unseasonably warm winter may have contributed to Sunday's collapse.

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Claudio Smiraglia, a glaciologist at the University of Milan, told The Guardian that "if it's very hot then the risk of suspended pieces of glacier breaking off is greater."

"The most evident sign is a widening of crevasses, but this isn't always so easy to grasp to the point where you perceive it as a danger and close off the mountain," said Milan. "But this heating has put glaciers in crisis and needs maximum attention."

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