News World Second Turkish avalanche kills dozens of rescuers

Second Turkish avalanche kills dozens of rescuers

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Two avalanches in eastern Turkey have killed 38 people, most of them rescuers who were buried by a second fall while searching for victims of the first.

Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Authority (AFAD) said 33 people were killed when the second avalanche hit while they were searching for two more victims of the first slip, which killed five people.

They had already rescued eight others.

It is unclear how many people remain buried under the snow.

Speaking to reporters in Van on Wednesday, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said 75 people were injured, adding that about 700 additional emergency rescue personnel had been sent to the area.

TV footage from Bahcesaray district in the eastern province of Van showed dozens of people using shovels and sticks in snow and high winds to dig out vehicles that had been buried and toppled in the avalanche, which happened on Tuesday night (local time).

turkey avalanches
Rescuers dig in the snow for the dozens feared trapped. Photo: AAP

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said conditions in the area made it difficult for rescue vehicles to operate. One recovered vehicle was under up to five metres of snow.

He later said that rescue operations had been put on hold as authorities feared a third avalanche in the area.

Rescue efforts are due to resume after inspections on Thursday morning, he said.

-with AAP

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