After the glacier fall on the Marmolada, the number of dead could increase. The rescuers have little hope for those still missing. Mountaineer Reinhold Messner expects more incidents of this kind.

After the serious glacier fall in the Dolomites with at least six dead, the emergency services want to continue the search on the flank of the Marmolada mountain on Monday.

But they have little hope of finding any more survivors among the masses of ice, snow and rock. That’s what Walter Cainelli said from the mountain rescue service in the northern Italian province of Trentino.

16 cars in parking lot

A good dozen people were missing on Sunday evening, as reported by the Ansa news agency. 16 cars were counted in the parking lot at the foot of the mountain massif, from which the ascent paths start, whose owners have not yet been found.

“We do not yet know whether the cars belong to the dead or missing people or to people who have nothing to do with the accident,” said the regional president of Trentino-Alto Adige, Maurizio Fugatti. Up to 14 mountaineers were injured in the mountain disaster.

The search and rescue work on the Marmolada was interrupted on Sunday evening because there was a risk that more blocks of ice could go off. The entire area around the glacier has been closed to the public. Prime Minister Mario Draghi expressed his condolences to the victims and their families and was kept informed of the rescue efforts and the investigation.

Messner warns of global warming

Extreme mountaineer and environmentalist Reinhold Messner sees the accident as a consequence of climate change and global warming. “These eat away at the glaciers,” said the 77-year-old in an interview with the German Press Agency.

So-called ice towers – known as seracs – then form on the edges of the glacier, “which can be as big as skyscrapers or rows of houses,” explained Messner. Incidents like the one on the Marmolada “we will see more often,” he predicted, because “today there are many more rock and ice falls than in the past.”

And these can then have terrible consequences, like on Sunday on the massif on the border between the Trentino-Alto Adige and Veneto regions. The visibly shocked mountain rescuer Luigi Felicetti reported on the mission: «When we arrived on site, we were presented with an incredible picture. There were blocks of ice and huge stones everywhere.”

The Ansa news agency quoted investigators as saying that an “unimaginable bloodbath” took place on the mountain, after which “it will be difficult to determine the identity of the victims because the bodies were dismembered” by the ice and stone chunks.