Two bodies found in search following Italian Alps avalanche | Italy

Two bodies have been found as rescuers searched for people missing since Sunday’s fatal avalanche on the Marmolada, the largest glacier in the Italian Dolomites.

The victims have not yet been identified, but are believed to be part of the same group of climbers, according to Italian media reports.

The announcement on Wednesday brings the death toll in the tragedy to nine. Three people remain unaccounted for three days after a mass of ice broke off the glacier, sending an avalanche of ice, rocks and debris plummeting down the slope and on to a popular hiking trail. Eight people were injured, two seriously.

As relatives questioned whether the glacier, which has been melting at an accelerated rate over the past decade, should have been closed off, Trento prosecutor Sandro Raimondi, who has opened an investigation to establish if there was any negligence, said on Wednesday it appeared that the avalanche could not have been foreseen.

“The unpredictability of this event is the protagonist,” he said. “To have a responsibility you need to be able to foresee an event, which is very, very difficult.”

Victims so far identified are: Filippo Bari, 27; Tommaso Carollo, 48; Paolo Dani, 52; and Liliana Bertoldi, 54.

Carollo’s partner, Alessandra De Camilli, was among those hospitalized in Trento. “I love you Tommaso, always and forever,” she wrote on Facebook.

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Rescuers have been searching the area with drones and sniffer dogs although the operation has been hampered by thunderstorms.

The mayor of Canazei, the town in Trentino closest to the glacier, and leaders of other towns in the area have closed off the Marmolada. However, some hikers have ventured to trails on its lower slopes, while curious visitors have been descending on a mountain refuge from where the avalanche site can be seen at a distance.

Known as the Queen of the Dolomites, the Marmolada has lost more than 80% of its volume over the last 72 years and Italian scientists warned in 2020 that the glacier could disappear within 15 years because of global warming.

The heatwave that has gripped Italy since the middle of May as well as a warmer than usual winter and scant snowfall are believed to have contributed to the avalanche.

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