Published: Wed, February 05, 2020
Markets | By Otis Pena

Many dead after two avalanches strike in Turkey, killing rescuers

Many dead after two avalanches strike in Turkey, killing rescuers

Rescue workers have been killed and 20 people are missing as Turkey is rocked by a second avalanche in as many days.

Wednesday's avalanche increased the overall death toll from the disaster to 17.

Rescue teams were working to rescue people trapped under an earlier avalanche that struck on Tuesday, killing five people. At about noon Wednesday, a second avalanche trapped the rescue teams. At least 14 rescuers are among the 33 killed, the agency said. Emergency teams were searching for their colleagues, who are members of Turkey's state disaster response agency and its medical rescue team. He did not provide a figure.

Intense search and rescue efforts were ongoing, and 15 more ambulances were sent to the region amid risk of new avalanches, he added.

Bilmez noted that the condition of nine of the rescued people was critical, while there was still no information on how many people are buried under the avalanche.

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Video from the scene showed at least three overturned vehicles at the bottom of a hill during a snowstorm. Some rescue workers were scrambling up a steep incline to escape the mass of snow while other rescuers attempted to combat the snow with shovels and pick-axes.

The head of AFAD's operations in Van province, Osman Ucar, was among those injured.

That avalanche, in which two people remain missing, buried a minibus and a vehicle that was being used to clear snow.

The operator of that vehicle, as well as seven passengers, managed to escape, the AP reported.

The minibus operator, Bahattin Karagulle, was trapped beneath the snow for some 25 minutes before he managed to break a window and escape yesterday.

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