WATCH: Six dead in glacier collapse in Italian Alps

An avalanche triggered by the collapse of the largest glacier in the Italian Alps killed at least six people and injured eight more on Sunday, an emergency services official said.

The glacier crashed onto Mount Marmolada, the highest in the Italian Dolomites, near the village of Punta Rocca, following the usual route to reach its summit.

The disaster occurred a day after a record high temperature of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) was recorded at the top of the glacier.

“An avalanche of snow, ice and rocks hit the driveway at a time when there were several groups tied up with ropes, some of which were swept away,” emergency services spokeswoman Michela Canova told AFP.

According to her, six people were killed and eight were injured.

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According to her, two of the wounded were taken to the hospital in Belluno, another in a more serious condition was taken to Treviso and five to Trento.

“The total number of climbers involved is not yet known,” Canova added.

She did not specify the nationality of the victims.

Helicopters were raised from the air to participate in the rescue operation and monitor the situation.

Rescuers in the nearby Veneto region in northeast Italy said they have deployed all of their alpine teams, including search dogs.

– Feared further collapse –

Images taken from a shelter near the scene show a mixture of snow and rocks flying down the sides of the mountain and causing thunderous noise.

In other footage taken by tourists on mobile phones, you can see how a grayish avalanche sweeps away everything in its path.

Experts quoted by the Corriere della Sera newspaper said they feared further ice collapse.

Renato Colucci, a glacier cited by Italy’s AGI news agency, added that the phenomenon “must repeat” because “for several weeks, temperatures at altitude in the Alps have been well above normal.”

The Marmolada Glacier is the largest in Dolomites mountain range, which is part of the Italian Alps and is located on the northern side of the Marmolada.

A glacier in the autonomous Italian province of Trento feeds the Avisio River and rises above Lake Fedaya.

According to the March report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), melting ice and snow is one of the top 10 threats caused by global warming, destroying ecosystems and infrastructure.

The IPCC has said that by the end of the century, glaciers in Scandinavia, Central Europe and the Caucasus could lose 60 to 80 percent of their mass.

The traditional way of life of people like the Sámi in Finnish Lapland who breed reindeer has already suffered.

Melting permafrost is also hindering economic activity in Canada and Russia.