23 killed in avalanche in eastern Turkey

TEHRAN, Feb. 05 (MNA) – While most members of the search team were rescued, several died from the avalanche in eastern Turkey, say authorities.

The second avalanche buried more than 50 personnel of search and rescue crews that had been combing an avalanche zone in eastern Turkey on Wednesday. The governor of Van, the eastern province in which the avalanches occurred, said 25 people had been rescued and taken to the hospital., according to Daily Sabah.

Mehmet Emin Bilmez told Anadolu Agency (AA) that additional search and rescue teams and 15 ambulances had been dispatched to the area following the second avalanche as at least 12 people were killed, bringing the total number to 23. He warned that more avalanches could occur, cautioning locals to follow the instructions of the emergency personnel on-site.

The crews had been looking for two missing people after an avalanche buried a passenger minibus and a snow-clearing vehicle in an area of Van province. Seven people were rescued and five bodies were found under the avalanche after the incident late Tuesday.

The minibus was carrying passengers on a road between the province and its Bahçesaray district. Six people were rescued while the driver of the snow-clearing vehicle managed to escape the avalanche at the last moment.

Authorities said some members of search and rescue crews managed to dig themselves out of the tons of snow while the efforts were underway to rescue others. The mayor of Bahçesaray said more than 50 people were buried under the second avalanche.

The ongoing snowfall and blizzard inhibited the search and rescue efforts.

Winter conditions in eastern Turkey regularly hamper daily life. A large number of roads connecting remote areas to city centers in the region are currently closed due to heavy snowfall while crews work around the clock to keep the roads clear.

MNA/PR

News Code 155329

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