Doomed mountaineer took beaming selfie just before being killed by an avalanche

A doomed mountaineer took a beaming selfie and sent it to family moments before an avalanche crushed him to death.

Just minutes before he was tragically killed in the Italian Alps, Filippo Bari, 27, sent the picture to his family with the message 'look where I am'.

Expert mountain hiker, Filippo, was climbing Marmolada in the Dolomites in Italy, with his friends, when a huge chunk of glacier broke off, sending an avalanche of ice, snow and rocks down the slope on Sunday (July 3).

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The Italian was one of at least seven hikers who were killed in the tragedy, with five people still missing.

However, due to the scale of the avalanche and difficult conditions facing rescue teams, hope of finding the missing climbers alive are fading.

The father-of-one, who lived in Malo, Vicenza province, with his partner, Jelena, and four-year-old son, Filippo, was identified by his family as one of the victims.

His brother, Andrea, said his brother sent the smiling selfie in front of the glacier 20 minutes before the avalanche.

"He passed away doing what he loved," Andrea told Italian state TV.

"Filippo was a great lover of the mountains and nature in general.

"He had already done several high-altitude outings, always accompanied by experienced people and with all the necessary equipment."

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The deluge of ice fell on a route usually taken by hikers to reach the summit of the mountain, the Alpine rescue said.

A local official said the part that broke loose was around 200 metres wide, 80 metres high and 60 metres deep – and plummeted down the mountain at nearly 200 miles per hour.

The region has been hit with a heatwave in recent weeks and the Dolomite summit has reached record temperatures, with experts suggesting this might have caused the glacier collapse.

The incident led to the evacuation of the mountain as officials warned there was a risk of further collapses.

The Czech foreign ministry said two of its nationals were among those who lost their lives, while 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, were said to be in a serious condition.

"Operations on the ground will only be carried out to recover any remains discovered by the drones, to ensure rescuers' safety," the Trentino Alpine Rescue Service said yesterday (Tuesday, July 5).

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Relatives of hikers reported missing gathered at 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 was not yet clear 'if that means there are victims there, or if they belong to old hiking expeditions'.

He said hope of finding survivors under the ice was slim, but not entirely gone.

"If there are 'pockets' (of air), there's still hope," he said.

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"Time is obviously short, but we still hope to find someone alive."

The Trento public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation to determine the cause of the avalanche as the families of those caught up in the tragedy demanded answers.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted the sister of one missing Italian as saying: "Why did nobody warn on Saturday that water had filtered beneath the glacier?

"Why did they not stop the people from going climbing?"

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