The number of missing is thirteen, seven dead and eight injured – summing up the balance of last weekend’s avalanche on the slopes of Marmolada, the highest mountain group in the Dolomites in northern Italy. A car with a blank Hungarian registration number was mentioned in a press conference by Maurizio Fugati, the governor of the autonomous county of Trento.
Maurizio Fugati said the previously estimated number of missing persons had dropped to twenty-two. In fact, although they were at the scene during the avalanche, they were not harmed, but their family members reported to the authorities that they were still missing. According to the latest official reports, three foreigners are among the missing, all three are Czech citizens.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi, head of disaster management Fabrizio Guercio and head of Veneto province Luca Zaya attended the impromptu press conference in the mountainous town of Canasi.
Mario Draghi added that he left a list of missing persons in the parking lot closest to the disaster site, and since then they have been trying to compile it based on the cars that were left empty.
There are four more such foreign vehicles in the parking lot, two with Czech, one German and one Hungarian license plates, Mario Draghi said.
The governor of the autonomous region of Trento said seven victims had been found so far and three of them had been identified. 8 people were injured, two are in critical condition. They are a 67-year-old German man and a 58-year-old German woman, both of whom are being treated in the intensive care unit.
Rescue teams temporarily called off the search around noon on Monday due to bad weather. After several days of heat waves, rainfall has arrived, which experts say could loosen the ice wall further, but strong winds and hail are expected.
Thirty-five rescue units were searching for the missing until the bad weather started, said Luca Zaia, the governor of Veneto province. “The extent of the disaster is tragic and we thought that more people could be saved with a faster recovery,” said Luca Zaya. He noted that the scale of the avalanche should be imagined as a multi-story residential building built of snow on a steep hillside, carrying everything away.
Veneto’s head of disaster protection, Gianpaolo Potacin, added that soon, the search for missing people will continue with drones. Special helicopters of the Italian financial police also arrived at the scene, with their equipment capable of identifying mobile phones even at a depth of several meters.
According to rescuers, dozens of people were buried by the snow. The ice broke near Punta Rocca on the way to Marmolada Peak.
Sunday’s snowfall is explained by extremely high temperatures: on Saturday, a peak temperature of 10 degrees Celsius was measured at the top of Marmolada.