ROME -- Monday's search was hampered by thunderstorms. This happened after an enormous chunk of the Italian Alpine glacier broke apart, sending an avalanche down the slope. Officials have put the death toll at seven.
Veneto Gov. stated, "I hope that the numbers stop here." Luca Zaia is from northeast Italy, where he spoke. In Canazei, a morgue was established in the ice rink.
Maurizio Fugatti of the Trentino-Alto Adige Alpine region stated that 14 people were still unaccounted for as of Monday afternoon: 10 from Italy, three from Czechia, and one from Austria. Fugatti, Trentino-Alto Adige Alpine Region said that they were contacted because the families didn't know where these people were.
Four cars were left in the mountain's parking lot whose occupants had not been found -- two cars had Czech plates, one from Germany, and the fourth was from Hungary.
Fugatti suggested that some people might not know their status because they may be on vacation and only check in with family members at the end of the vacation.
Authorities confirmed that at least three of those who died were Italians. According to Italian news reports, one of the victims was said to be from Czechia. This country is better known in English as the Czech Republic.
Officials claimed that nine people were hurt on Sunday. But, Canazei officials, at a Monday news conference, said that eight were present, with two of them being admitted to Canazei in a "delicate" grave condition.
Zaia stated that the hospitalized patients included two Germans as well as a 40-year old patient who has yet to be identified.
When dozens of hikers went on outings, some were even roped together, the avalanche burst into action.
After meeting with relatives of the deceased, Mario Draghi, the Italian Premier, stood alongside the officials and expressed his "most sincere, affectionate and heartfelt closeness" towards the families.
He looked grim and demanded that action is taken to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Draghi stated, "This drama has some unpredictability." He was echoing many experts who claimed that an avalanche caused by a glacier's collapse cannot be predicted.
The premier stated that what happened "certainly depends upon environmental deterioration, and the climate situation."
Marmolada glacier is shrinking over the past decades. Scientists at the government CNR Research Center have stated that it will cease to exist in 25-30 years.
Draghi stated that "Today, Italy gathers near" to the families of the victims. "The government should reflect on what happened, and take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again."
It was huge, measuring 200 meters (yards), 80 meters high, and 60 meters deep. Zaia compared the avalanche with an "apartment-building (sized) block made of ice and debris mixed with Cyclopean masses.
Zaia stated that she cannot speak for anyone else but the facts and that high temperatures don’t favor such situations.
Italy is currently under a heat wave that has been going on for weeks. Alpine rescuers reported that last week's temperature at the glacier's elevation reached 10 C (50 F), which is normal considering it is usually around freezing this time of the year.
Drones were used to search for missing persons and verify safety. However, even these drones had to be stopped when severe thunderstorms hit the area late in the morning.
It was not immediately clear what caused the pinnacle of a glacier to burst and send it crashing down the slope at an estimated speed of 300 kph (nearly 200 miles per hour).
However, high temperatures are often cited as a possible factor.
Jacopo Gabrieli (a researcher in polar sciences at Italy's CNR research centre) noted that the heat wave that lasted for almost 20 years in northern Italy was the longest.
Gabrieli stated Monday that it was an "absolutely an anomaly" in an interview with Italian state TV. He said that it was impossible to predict whether or not a serac, which is a pinnacle at the glacier's tophang, would break apart, like other experts.
Operators of rustic shelters on the mountainside claimed temperatures recently reached 24C (75 F), which is unusual for a place where tourists go in summer to stay cool.
The largest glacier in the Dolomite Mountains of northeastern Italy is located in the Marmolada Range. It is popular for skiing in winter. The glacier has been slowly melting over the last decades, and much of its volume has disappeared.
Experts from the U.N. have identified the Mediterranean basin as a "climate-change hot spot" that is likely to experience heat waves and water shortages.
Pope Francis, who made the care of the planet a priority in his pontificate, sent out a tweet inviting people to pray for victims of avalanches and their families.
Francis wrote that the tragedies we are witnessing with climate change should force us to urgently seek out new ways that respect people and nature.