A YOUNG mountaineer snapped a final grinning selfie just minutes before he was tragically killed in an avalanche in the Italian Alps.
Filippo Bari, 27, sent the picture to his family with the message “Look where I am” as he climbed the Marmolada – the highest mountain in the Dolomites – with his buddies.
Just 20 minutes later, a huge chunk of glacier broke off, sending a huge avalanche of ice, snow and rock down the slope on Sunday.
At least seven hikers were killed and five people are still missing.
Hopes of finding the missing climbers alive are dwindling due to the magnitude of the avalanche and the difficult conditions for rescuers.
Filippo, an experienced mountain hiker from Italy, has been identified by his family as one of the victims of the tragedy.
His brother Andrea said his family always told him to be careful in the mountains, “especially with these temperatures”.
Andrea said his Filippo lives in Malo, in the province of Vicenza, with his partner Jelena and their four-year-old son Filippo.
He said his brother sent him the selfie, wearing a helmet and sunglasses, smiling in front of the glacier 20 minutes before the avalanche.
Andrea told Italian state television: “He died doing what he loved.
“Filippo was a great lover of mountains and nature in general.
“He had already made several high-altitude excursions, always accompanied by experienced people and with the necessary equipment.”
Filippo had planned to climb Monte Rosa, which stretches across Italy and Switzerland, this week.
The ice flood fell on a route normally taken by hikers to reach the top of the mountain, Alpine Rescue said.
A local official said the part that broke free was about 200 meters wide, 80 meters high and 60 meters deep – and was falling down the mountain at almost 200 miles per hour.
The region has been hit by a heatwave in recent weeks and the Dolomite peaks have reached record temperatures – possibly causing the glacier collapse.
The incident prompted the evacuation of Mount Marmolada in the Italian Alps as officials warned of the risk of more collapses.
The Czech Foreign Ministry said two of its nationals were among those who lost their lives.
And at least three of the dead were Italians, authorities said
Of the eight injured, two Germans, a 67-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman, are said to be in serious condition.
On Tuesday, rescue teams sent helicopters and drones aloft for a second day.
“Operations on the ground will only be carried out to recover remains detected by the drones, to ensure the safety of rescuers,” Trentino Alpine Rescue Service said on Tuesday.
Relatives of hikers who were reported missing gathered in the town of Canazei, where recovered remains were placed in a makeshift morgue at a gym.
Helicopter pilot Fausto Zambelli said some belongings had been spotted from the air – but it’s not yet clear “whether that means there are casualties there or if they belong to old hiking expeditions”.
He said hope of finding survivors beneath the ice was slim but not entirely gone.
“When there are ‘air pockets’ there is still hope. Time is obviously short but we still hope to find someone alive,” he said.
The Trento Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the avalanche, as the families of the victims of the tragedy have demanded answers.
Italian news agency ANSA quoted the sister of a missing Italian as saying: “Why didn’t anyone warn on Saturday that water was being filtered under the glacier?
“Why didn’t they stop people from climbing?”
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5710799/mountaineer-grinning-selfie-before-dying-avalanche/ The 27-year-old climber took a grinning selfie and sent it to family just before dying in an avalanche