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Officials in Italy say that at least six individuals were killed on Sunday after a glacier’s collapse in the northern Italian Alps caused an avalanche.
During the avalanche, eight others were injured and two of them sustained serious injuries, according to the BBC.
Helicopters and emergency workers were sent to the scene of the collapse.
“Unfortunately, five people were found lifeless,” emergency services spokeswoman Michela Canoval told the AFP, and said the number “remains a provisional count.”
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“An avalanche of snow, ice and rock which in its path hit the access road when there were several roped parties, some of which were swept away,” Canova said. “The definitive number of mountaineers involved is not yet known,” she added.
One rescuer, Luigi Felicetti, said that “We saw dead (people) and enormous chunks of ice, rock.”
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The emergency service in the area of the collapse said that 15 people were believed to have been in the group that was hiking.
The cause of the collapse isn’t yet known, but a rescue service spokesperson, Walter Milan, said that the area of the collapse have experienced high temperatures recently.
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“That’s extreme heat,” Milan said. “Clearly it’s something abnormal.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.